Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review of Minsky's


We caught Minsky's last month at the Los Angeles Ahmanson Theater. New show, getting tested and packaged, before heading to Broadway, and we're the first to see it.

I really, really, really wanted to like this show. It has alot of the right ingredients. In some ways, I can see the producers' brains twirling and swirling and churning... "It can't miss!"... But surprisingly, it didn't work. Ironically, the show starts off with scene that depicts a really awful song getting turned into a fun dance number by Billy Minsky. The irony is that someone should have done the same twist to this musical.

Oh don't get me wrong. I enjoyed myself enough and had fine time with a couple of the great dance scenes. But the show didn't zing me, which is the real shame, given its potential.

I mean, think of the genetics! Charles Strouse wrote the music (3 Tony's including the admittedly manipulative Annie). Choreographer Casey Nichalaw had done Drowsy Chaperone (I was half-expecting the odd and fun twisty dance steps from the wedding songs to make their way into this show). And Bob Martin, also of Drowsy Chaperone, worked the book.

The cast includes Christopher Fitgerald as Billy Minsky (with his Tony nom for Young Frankstein's Igor, not for Boq in Wicked). His love interest is Katherine Leonard. And despite the decent performances - - I really don't care if they fall in love and frankly they writing makes them seem indifferent as well. Especially since we first see them together on stage in an amazingly predictable, unoriginal scene of parallelism.

Instead, Billy's #2 steals every scene. And why shouldn't she? Beth Leavel won her Tony in Drowsy Chaperone for play a scene stealer! In fact, her two big numbers in this show almost sound like the numbers she was parodying in Drowsy Chaperone!

The other cast members were, in some ways, seemingly forced to participate in random acts of burlesque. It wasn't funny. Or musical. In Drowsy Chaperone, I was invited to relish and luxuriate in the homage to the musicals of yesteryear. In this musical, the numbers were paraded, but like the romance between the leads, there was no passion, no heart, no heat.

So, though the first big number may have been "Working Hot", I'd have to say it's more like "Working It Out".

March 2009

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