Theatre Review “Nice Work If You Can Get It” @ Imperial Theatre, 06/21/12

It’s no surprise that Nice Work If You Can Get It did not win the Tony Award for Best Musical this year. It’s a silly, fun, traditional Gershwin musical (a la Crazy For You) but with little substance or even a moral attached.

The tag-line should be: “Hijinks endlessly abound.”

Literally, they are endless — never stop. Ever. No, seriously. They keep going and going and going. For real, though.

The first thing the producers should do is fire Matthew Broderick who plays the love interest Jimmy WInter. Yes, he’s probably a huge part of what’s selling the show, but I’m sorry to report, he’s terrible. His performance wasn’t even salvageable. The dance between Kelli O’Hara (Billie Bendix) and Matthew Broderick at the end of the first act was one of the worst dance breaks that I’ve ever seen on the Broadway stage. It was a brilliant dance arrangement by the 18-piece orchestra, but it was so painful to watch. Even the music that Broderick sang fell flat and almost unlistenable. I was very unimpressed.

That said, everyone else in the cast was fantastic! I absolutely loved Kelli O’Hara. She’s gorgeous, sings beautifully and has no problem carrying a show even though her leading man is a complete dud. Kudos to her!

Judy Kaye played Duchess Estonia Dulworth with utter perfection. She enters and sings “Demon Run” at the beginning of Act 1 and then you don’t really see her again until the beginning of Act 2. Her presence in Act 2, alongside Tony winning Michael McGrath (Cookie McGee), made Act 2 much more enjoyable than Act 1. The second half clipped along at a very fast and humorous pace because of these two performer’s perfect comedic timing. They play off of each other hysterically and are the best part of the show. Hands down!

I’ve been in love with Jennifer Laura Thompson (Eileen Evergreen) since I saw her as Hope in Urinetown. I also got a chance to see her as Glinda in Wicked and still to this day I think that she’s the best Glinda I’ve ever seen. I wish that her character in Nice Work If You Can Get It had more to work with, because the role itself was a bit lacking. She was fantastic (as usual), but I missed seeing her as a leading lady.

The music from George and Ira Gershwin’s catalog is some of my favorite music in the musical theatre canon. Backed up with a 18-year piece orchestra, it makes for a beautiful evening of lush Gershwin classics. (Almost worth the price of admission alone.) Some of my favorite songs include: “But Not For Me” sung by Kelli O’Hara,  and “Blah, Blah, Blah” sung by Chris Sullivan (Duke Mahoney) and Robyn Hurder (Jeannie Muldoon). I’m looking forward to hearing the cast recording.

The entire time I was watching the show, I kept thinking, “This will be the perfect high school musical.” It’s a wonderful family-friendly show that has incredible music and super fun dancing. There’s a slew of supporting characters that would showcase half of the school and if Matthew Broderick can pull off the leading role, then most high schoolers across the country will do just fine!

Overall, if you are looking for a “classic-styled” Broadway show that’s great for all ages, then this is the show for you. Don’t expect that they are re-inventing the wheel with this show, in reality, they are continuing the tradition of musical comedy in its finest form.

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3 thoughts on “Theatre Review “Nice Work If You Can Get It” @ Imperial Theatre, 06/21/12

  1. Unfortunately, you did not state what Broderick does so very well in this show. That would be COMEDY. His singing and dancing is a side note. His comedy allows all the other storylines to work. Also, no one would be in the audience to see this story or cast and they would have closed by now.

  2. wow! sorry to hear about your experience with the lead…you must have caught matthew broderick on a bad night. when i saw the show in mid april, the audience loved him, kelli ohara seemed to love him and my wife and i loved him…agree with rest of your review completely…on our show night (saturday before easter) matthew was in great voice, comedy and acting were excellent and dancing was fine. chemistry with him and kelli worked great, and he looked like he was having a great time doing the show. Got a thundering, standing ovation from mostly local, pre-opening night previews audience, including a working musical theatre actress sitting next to me who was between shows.

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