Rating: 3/5 stars
This past Tuesday night I got to see Roundabout's production of On the Twentieth Century starring none other than miss Kristin Chenoweth. It officially opened on Sunday to fantastic reviews from everyone, including the New York Times, so I'd say the production will do well especially since everyone loves Kristin. I almost don't need to tell you anything about the plot because the poster above says it all. She's a star, he's a producer that needs her to save his career, and they're all stuck on a train to NYC for 16 hours.
Before I get to what I thought of the show and the actors, I want to bring up Betty Comden and Adolph Green. Who is that, you may ask? Oh just the incredible writing team that people forget about. They wrote the book and lyrics to this show as well as On the Town (which is also on Broadway right now and you HAVE to go see it). You could say they're making a come-back (metaphorically since they both have passed) because they also wrote Peter Pan, the same one that was live on NBC in December, and they wrote the screenplay for The Band Wagon that was at City Center this past November. And if you've seen the movie Singin' in the Rain...yeah they wrote that script too. They hold the record as Broadway's longest running team and they won 17 Tony awards and were nominated over 30 times.
Sounds like they had it all, right? Well they also had a really rough start and could've given up numerous times. They were poor, unemployed a lot of the time, and had constant rejections. They formed a comedy group with friends in NYC that went nowhere, they tried to make it in Hollywood and were let go. But they had each other and they believed in each other. They got their break when their long time friend, just ole' Leonard Bernstein (or Lenny as they knew him), wrote the music for a ballet and had producers that wanted it turned into a musical. And that's when they created On the Town. If you want to hear more of their story, read this: http://www.vanityfair.com/unchanged/2014/11/on-the-town-broadway-making-of
But getting back to the musical at hand, I can't say that it's my favorite Comden and Green story. The show is purely meant for fun and big laughs, and it succeeds. And maybe that has a place on Broadway, but I also feel like shows need to have a little more depth now. It works because it's a revival of an old classic, but if this was a brand new show, I don't know if it would succeed (in an unfair comparison, Honeymoon in Vegas on Broadway this season is just for fun and laughs and is a sinking ship).
HOWEVER, if you want to see what a Tony-winning performance looks like...come see Kristin Chenoweth. From what I have seen so far this season, she should win the Tony for best actress. From the second she walks on stage we are all putty in her hands. Everything she does is magical, beautiful, and effortless. You laugh at everything she says, you swoon at every note she sings, and when she walks offstage you want to follow her. Peter Gallagher played his part well but was overall forgettable. Andy Karl was her hilarious and idiotic boy toy and really shined with Kristin. And the four bell-hop tap-dancers on the train were absolutely charming and super talented. I didn't particularly love the music by Cy Coleman though. There were a lot of songs that were operatic and consisted of just singing dialogue back and forth for awhile.
I do believe this a show that anyone could enjoy. You could come just for the sets and costumes alone, but Kristin is really the reason you should see it. Nonetheless, I don't plan on seeing this show again.
Who should see this show:
- If you want to see a Tony-winner in a possible Tony-winning performance
- If you're just looking for a fun, easy time
- If you're with parents or with people from an older generation
How to get tickets:
- ARE YOU 18-35 YEARS OLD: if yes, sign up for Hiptix and get tickets for $25! http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/Shows-Events/HipTix.aspx
- Regular priced tickets for $67: http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/tickets/reserve.aspx?pid=17546