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George Abbott

Book review: “Sense of Occasion” by Harold Prince

November 16, 2017

The first 26 chapters are the original text of "Contradictions" with each followed by “”Reflections,” where Prince variously corrects, expands upon and ruminates about that portion.  After concluding with the tribulations of the 1974 revival of "Candide," the next 19 chapters are new additions that detail all that came after.  There’s also a comprehensive appendix of facts about all of his shows and an index. [more]

Fiorello!

September 24, 2016

Under Bob Moss’ vigorous and energetic direction, the cast of 20 young actors grab hold of the show and never let up for a moment playing a multitude of colorful New York types with energy and verve. The musical numbers are excitingly staged with excellent period choreography by Michael Callahan. In the title role, Austin Scott Lombardi, making his Off Broadway debut, is a forceful and charismatic presence as the lawyer who is always on the right side of every issue and never takes no for an answer. As his love interest Thea, the beautiful Italian American from Trieste, Rebecca Brudner is a charming presence, impressively maintaining her Italian accent even during her musical numbers. Katie Birenboim obtains our sympathy as Fiorello’s long-suffering secretary with her wry view of the world. Chelsea Cree Groen and Dan Cassin are an engaging if unlikely romantic couple as the savvy sweatshop seamstress and the dim-witted cop who arrests her best friend for picketing. [more]

Out of This World

October 30, 2015

Initially based on Plautus’ Roman comedy, "Amphitryon," "Out of This World" is an uneasy mix of 1950’s slang and idiom, and classic Greek themes handled in a jokey manner. One of the major problems with the show is finding the right style for this broad-winking sex farce. After she was fired, Agnes De Mille stated that if she had more time she would have directed the show in “a mock heroic style.” Musicals Tonight!’s director Norb Joerder hasn’t solved this problem either and his few dance numbers look more like Native American dances from "Annie Get Your Gun" than those of the ancient Greeks. [more]

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

March 28, 2005

The show possesses a golden score characteristic of the Broadway golden age of the early 1950s, and is worth breathing life into, even if just for a weekend at City Center. Gary Griffin, who has tamed previous Encores! productions including "The New Moon" and last year's "Pardon My English," provides skillful, erudite direction for the piece, showcasing the musical's memorable score as well as a number of talented performers such as Jason Danieley, Emily Sinner, and Sally Murphy. [more]