Friday, November 14, 2008

My Vaudeville Man

photo: Carol Rosegg

The book of this two-character musical, which charts the relationship between a born-to-dance Irish-American vaudevillian and his disapproving mother who's ashamed of his profession, is disappointingly shallow: the first act doesn't do much more than contrast his wide-eyed naivete with her cold-eyed suspicion, before closing with a stakes-raising conflict that is soon glossed over and made irrelevant in the second act. However, there are at least a few good songs in the score (the title song is especially infectious) and both Karen Murphy and Shonn Wiley are terrific. The show's chief pleasure - for me, a big one - is Wiley's tap-dancing: his extended second act dance number, which has the added twist of also being a drinking contest besides a tap challenge, is breathtaking.

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