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Thursday, May 28, 2015

On the Twentieth Century

A very funny musical,  On The Twentieth Century, is currently playing on Broadway.  Book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Cy Colman, starring Kristin Chenoweth as Lily, and Peter Gallagher as Oscar, Andy Karl as Bruce, Mark Linn-Baker as Oliver, Michael McGrath as Owen and Mary Louise Wilson as Letitia.

Combining screwball comedy with beautiful song and dance, it tells the story of a behind-the-scenes relationship between Lily, a temperamental actress and Oscar, a bankrupt theatre producer. Oscar is responsible for Lily becoming an actress, but she left him and the theater to pursue a movie career in Hollywood. On a luxury train traveling from Chicago to New York, Oscar tries to convince the glamorous Hollywood star into playing the lead in his new, but not-yet-written play, and perhaps to rekindle their romance.

The revival was staged by Roundabout Theater.  Drew is a Roundabout subscriber, and got the offer for tickets long before the show opened.  I had seen the original 1978 production, which starred John Cullum (one of my favorites), Madeline Kahn, Kevin Kline and Imogene Coca.  Of course I wanted to see the revival, so we got our tickets long before anyone knew how good the revival would be -- 5 Tony nominations (the original had 9 nominations and won 5 Tonys).

Some of the highlights of the show: the tap dancing porters forming a "train"; Letitia's big song, "Repent" (where she is convinced that there are "dirty doings going on" everywhere); and Lily's overblown "Veronique".

The night we saw the show, one of the set pieces malfunctioned, and the actors incorporated that problem into the story and made it humorous.

Chenoweth deserves the Tony (I hope she wins), Gallagher should have been nominated.   I loved seeing Mark Linn-Baker again, he's always been a favorite of mine.

Definitely a goodnight of theater.

(We saw the show Memorial Day weekend, which is also Fleet Week in New York City.  Good to see all those men and women in uniform enjoying a visit to the Big Apple!)

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