CHITA RIVERA       JOHN McMARTIN

MARK JACOBY     STEVEN SUTCLIFFE     AMI SILVESTRE
GUY ADKINS     CRISTEN PAIGE

 

Kander & Ebb always felt attracted by dark and difficult subjects, usually themes that didn't seem fit to become musicals. So the idea of a musical adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt play didn't seem strange to me.

Terrence McNally came up with an interesting, but far from perfect, book. Sometimes it doesn't combine with the musical numbers and something is missing from the characters. The truth is we don't care much for them. They all look kind of pathetic and so does the show.

Frank Galati's direction is heavy and tends to be boring, not helping the musical side of the show. Nothing really dramatic or emotional happens on stage, leaving us with the sense that this musical still needs work. The same can be said of Ann Reinking's uninteresting choreography.
Kander & Ebb delivered a good score, not helped here by a small orchestra and bad acoustics. There are two funny songs that have possibilities of becoming strong numbers. The first is "You Know Me" (it remind me of "The Grass is Always Greener" from WOMAN OF THE YEAR) and it was obvious that the public loved it. The other one is "Yellow Shoes". It's a simple melody that ends act I as a big production number; unfortunately the choreography is very poor. With better steps this can became a winner.

There are shadows of SUNSET BOULEVARD here and that made me think that this show needs a bigger production, with strong sets and better lighting work. Imagine the opening with a true train and lots of smoke that disappears to reveal Claire in all her glory and a strong song for her to sing, that'll be great. As it is, a poor production, I doubt this musical will work on Broadway.

 

The cast was okay, with Chita Rivera playing herself and sometimes forgetting that her character has a wooden leg. With Angela Lansbury (how would this show be with her?) out and Rivera in, Reinking didn't resist putting her dancing. The result is a tango, but that number doesn't belong in this show. John McMartin was too sweet to convince us that his character is the bad guy.

Although it has a few good moments it disappointed me, but maybe if one day it'll arrive on Broadway it'll be a better show. Anyway, Kander & Ebb's score deserves to be recorded.

 

music by
JOHN KANDER
lyrics by
FRED EBB
book by
TERRENCE McNALLY
choreography by
ANN REINKING
directed by
FRANK GALATI

Rated by Jorge: ++