Friday, May 10, 2013

Nice Work If You Can Get It

I had no intention of seeing Nice Work If You Can Get It. I'm not a Matthew Broderick fan, and word-of-mouth made the show sound lame. Then nicely discounted tickets became available, and Jessie Mueller was cast, and I've always adored George Gershwin, and I figured, "What the hell. Even if the show stinks, I'll get to hear the music."

And damned if I didn't have a wonderful time. And damned if I didn't love Broderick's performance, weird voice and all!

Judy Kaye
Photo: Joan Marcus
The storyline is hardly worth summarizing--playboy meets girl bootlegger, playboy loses girl bootlegger, playboy gets girl bootlegger--but Joe DiPietro (the playbill says "Inspired by material by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse) has filled the script with delightfully silly jokes that are nailed by the fabulous cast. When an exchange about someone not being able to count to two is actually funny, you know you're in good hands.

And oh, what hands: Judy Kaye as an anti-alcohol crusader, Michael McGrath as a crook proud to be a good butler, and Chris Sullivan as a lunkhead with a sweet heart bring a divine sublimity to the proceedings. Kaye in particular gives a master class in perfectly calibrated insanity. Is there anyone like her? Fabulous voice, excellent acting, supreme likeability--I luv her.

The scenery by Derek McLane and costumes by Martin Pakledinaz are exactly what they should be, with style. In particular, the striped vice squad suits are a delight. And the orchestrations by Bill Elliot are wonderful--in his capable hands, even the scenes changes are a treat. The choreography by Kathleen Marshall isn't unique or outstanding--and I really wanted a tap number!--but it does what it needs to do, and her direction moves the show along at the perfect snappy pace.

If you too were dissuaded from giving Nice Work If You Can Get It a chance by the lackluster word-of-mouth and highly mixed reviews, and if you like shows that are sheer fun, get thee to the Imperial before the show closes on June 15th.

(4th row mezz; discount ticket)


msdworks said...

It's always so nice to one of your reviews of something you did not think you were going to like and did like.

Unknown said...

A right-on review, however I think Karhleen Marshall deserves more credit for the delightfulness of the show. Her choreography for the main character was skillfully designed to fit the ability and comfort zone of Matthew Broderick, and her direction was the reason the tone of the piece as a whole was so engaging.