Friday, June 27, 2008

Goodtime Charley

Wishy-washy milquetoast guy, decisive headstrong gal: a game match for a musical comedy, no? No. Not when the guy is Prince Charlemagne and the gal is Joan of Arc and there's the Hundred Years War and that burning at the stake on our minds. It's easy to see why Goodtime Charley flopped on Broadway back in the mid-'70's - it tries to whip up comic froth from material that is better suited to drama, and its tone is all over the place. The current street-clothes staged reading at The York doesn't do anything to convince that the musical's concept is anything but wrongheaded, but it does do one huge thing sensationally right by having Jenn Colella play Joan of Arc. At last, here's a role (the most interesting in the show, despite the title) that gives Colella the chance to shine and she does, bringing an intensity to her solo numbers that makes them sound like showstoppers.

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