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Andréa Burns

The Gardens of Anuncia

December 3, 2023

Michael John LaChiusa’s "The Gardens of Anuncia" is an interesting attempt to tell choreographer Graciela Daniele’s adolescent story. Unfortunately, as of now the show does not make the case that her coming of age was that eventful or compelling. What we might like to know is about her famed career, but that sort of presentation has been done in "Fosse," "Jerome Robbins’ Broadway," and "Prince of Broadway," the Harold Prince story. "The Gardens of Anuncia" is pleasant enough but leaves one hungry for more. The magical realism elements might be more fleshed out and some of the unanswered questions that are coyly handled might be revealed. [more]

The Light in the Piazza

June 23, 2023

New York City Center Encores!’s new production of the musical, directed by Chay Yew, stars another Tony Award winner, the sensational Ruthie Ann Miles, as the determined Margaret Johnson with beautiful-voiced Anna Zavelson as a believably three-dimensional Clara. The Encores! production is more down-to-earth than either the film or the original Lincoln Center production and more satisfying as a human drama.  There’s no stinting on humor, but the characters’ formerly trivial problems now seem more worthy of our attention. [more]

Dear World (New York City Center Encores!)

March 17, 2023

"Dear World," the not terribly successful 1969 Jerry Herman musical based on Jean Giraudoux’s "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1945), was basically a vehicle for the brilliant Angela Lansbury.  It needs a star to pull off its quirky inconsistency and New York City Center Encores! has a gem, Donna Murphy, who, though under-rehearsed due to a Covid scare and carrying her script, gives a colorful and moving performance as its central character, Countess Aurelia. [more]

Smart Blonde

March 31, 2019

Using the premise of a 1964 recording session that stimulates her many memories, good and bad, the play serves as a moving tribute to Holliday even though it doesn’t shy away from the darker side of her life.  In truth, it is the contrast between her brilliant professional career and her personal unhappiness that makes Holliday and this play so moving. [more]

Carmelina

January 31, 2019

Though not in the same class with Alan Jay Lerner’s masterpiece, "My Fair Lady," "Carmelina" has a similar theme: how a young woman reinvents herself. While the three soldiers are under the impression that they invented Carmelina Campbell in the classic Pygmalion and Galatea fashion, in fact Carmelina has reinvented herself, also a major theme in the Lerner canon, along with "Coco" and "Dance a Little Closer." This charming musical comedy also features a Tony Award nominated score which deserves a second and a third hearing. [more]

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “Lenny’s Lyricists”

March 2, 2018

"Candide"’s giddy overture was of course the euphoric opening number of the 92nd Street Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: "Lenny’s Lyricists." This was a splendid concert celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s centennial by spotlighting his collaborators.  The novelty here was that we watched footage of a close up of the hands of pianist Ray Wong as he superbly played via video projected onto a large screen as artistic director Rob Fisher turned the score’s pages. [more]

On Your Feet!

November 16, 2015

Sergio Trujillo’s exhilarating choreography is a ceaseless extravaganza of mostly Salsa numbers. The costumes by designer ESosa are appropriately heavy on glitz. David Rockwell’s seemingly simple and highly creative set design chiefly consists of textured white panels on which muted projections and videos are shown. Designed by Darrel Maloney, these are a captivating assemblage of palm trees, stucco houses and skies that artfully depict Cuba, Miami, and other locales. Kenneth Posner’s crisp lighting design further enhances the show’s vivid visual qualities. [more]

92nd Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “Here’s to The Girls!: Hollywood’s Leading Ladies”

February 9, 2015

Mr. Busch, known as a playwright of campy homages to old movies in which he often plays female roles, was an appropriate and authoritative host. For most of the proceedings, he sat off to the side wearing male attire wryly reading the often affectionate commentary. He chronicled the history of the Hollywood musical, its stars, its songwriters and its studios. This background material described the distinctive cinematic styles of the major studios, and the idiosyncratic moguls who ruled them. The musical movie histories of Warner Brothers, MGM, Universal, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Columbia were detailed. Well-selected illustrative slides and film clips were projected above the orchestra. [more]