Lincoln Center Theatre presents

 

 

KATE LEVERING

DAVID NEW

NORBERT LEO BUTZ

DEBRA MONK

 

music and lyrics by
HARRY CONNICK Jr.

book by
DAVID THOMPSON

directed and choreographed by
SUSAN STROMAN

 

Read more about Susan Stroman

 

Rated by Jorge: +

 

As a big fan of Susan Stroman I couldn't wait to see this new musical. The fact that I live in Lisbon, Portugal, and that the show was scheduled for a short run seemed to be a problem, but I planned my vacations in a way that I could see it. Getting tickets wasn't very hard and so I was excited about the all affair. The bad reviews it got made me wonder if I could be wrong, but my faith on Stroman didn't prepare me for what I was about to see.
We all know that Stroman have had flops in the past (BIG and STEEL PIER came to mind), but lately, besides choreographing, she started directing her own shows with great results. CONTACT was a new kind of musical, THE MUSIC MAN a delightful revival and THE PRODUCERS the mega-hit we all heard about. Could she maintain her winning stroke? The answer is, unfortunately, no!

She shouldn't have done this musical! Although there are a few good sequences in it, this is a boring musical. It has a good story that didn't need to be musicalized and, it's downfall, there's no way we can care for its characters. The all show is kind of pretentious, pretending to be a piece of art but forgetting to bring emotion to the stage.

Stroman is an excellent director when it comes to moving sets and people, and that combined with an excellent lighting work by Peter Kaczorowski it's the best thing of this dark musical. As for her dances, here they are a pale shadow of what she is able to do. So this time she let me down.

I believe that the main reason this musical doesn't work it's because of the score by Harry Connick Jr. Through the years Connick have shown talent to write songs, but this was too much for him and the result is really uninteresting. With the exception of the Sinatra type "Oh! Ain't That Sweet" and the haunting "Tug Boat", the rest of the songs are very poor and don't serve the characters.
That leads us to the cast. On the night that I saw it Craig Bierko wasn't in, in his place I saw David New. He wasn't very convincing and suffered from the fact that his character rarely sings; the truth is they didn't give him much to do. Kate Levering has more to do and she dances beautifully, but her only solo song is the sleepy "I Need to be in Love" and her acting abilities aren't that good

.Than there's Debra Monk, she does her best to make her Madame Raquin interesting and delivers a good performance, but she also suffers from the poor songs Connick wrote for her. As the murdered husband who comes back from the dead, Norbert Leo Butz is a revelation, first as the sick husband, later as the funny creepy ghost. The best songs of the evening are sung by him and his rendition of "Oh! Ain't That Sweet" almost lights up the show and it's the highlight of this dull musical.