On the town… It’s a Helluva show. ( A review of the Broadway Musical )

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It was Anything goes meets Jurassic Park, Miss America meets Bring It on, It was Newsies meets pantomime and all in ‘a night at the museum’, basically this show has everything in it… And I mean everything.Managing to score cheap $40 tickets due to a fancy app my friend had, you enter the auditorium to an empty stage, except for a giant American Flag. With the show starting at the unusual time for me/London of 8pm – it opened with the orchestra playing the national anthem which led to the entire auditorium standing up. A little taken by shock ( purely as we don’t do this on the west end ) I stood and began to lip Sync for my life in hopes to keep up my ‘authentic’ New Yorker character 😉

The revival of On the Town was first brought to my attention due to being a fan of the show SYTYCD and seeing that this years winner (season 11) would be joining the show. I was sad to learn though that the winner wouldn’t be joining the show until the end of the SYTYCD tour which ends in February.Anyway I soon got over my mild disappointment once the show started.This show showcases what the epitome of a triple threat performer is. With the dancing, singing and acting all coming together in this power house of talent. A somewhat dated story line but such a platform and showcase for great music, ridiculous dancing/choreography and amazing singing and acting.
One of the main elements about this show that I really enjoyed was the committed to the silliness. Really playing on some classic musical cliches and the cast not being scared to have a laugh at themselves.The opening alone set the standard for the show.Set in 1944 the show opens to a massive production number where you are introduced to the 3 male leads. Three sailors have 24 hours to make the most of their shore leave in the city that never sleeps. Love and romance, travel, comedy and all out dance scenes help tell the story of finding the June Miss Turnstiles.With all 3 sailors splitting up in hopes to find her they each discovering their own NYC.. and their own woman…

Some standout scenes for me where: The Taxi scene with the song ‘Come Up to My Place’ staring Jay Armstrong Johnson as Chip and Alysha Umprhress as Hildy. Hilarity in this slap stick physical comedy scene. Great use of props and how they would use projections and video on the scrim/back drop to help develop the scene. Giving you almost a 4D simulator style effect, the audience were laughing out loud the entire scene.

This scene was then topped by Clyde Alves as Ozzie and  Elizabeth Stanley as Claire De Loone with the song ‘Carried Away’. In a “ Anything you can Do I can Do better’’ style number set in the Natural History museum. All it was missing was Ben Stiller as the artefacts and exhibitions of the museum came to life, cavemen and dancing dinosaurs galore.

Gabe played by Tony Yazbeck was sublime. He had a beautiful dance quality about him and just as strong vocals to back it up.Other mentions go out to Jackie Hoffman. Managing to be the comedy highlight in an already comedy show. An alcohol infused performance playing on all the obnoxious traits you could possibly have as a singer/ singing teacher.

Choreography by Josh Begasse brings the show up to a whole other level. With the ensemble men being strong and athletic and the ensemble woman equally as strong but still managing to be feminine. A great use of canon within the choreography throughout the show and he was not afraid to have the ensemble dancing different sections of choreography at the same time. It was so nice to see this clever tool and to not always following the rule of the ensemble doing the same uniformed steps together at the same time. This really help add to the show and help each performer whether it be ensemble or lead to create and show their character.As I said earlier, despite it been a dated storyline, the cast have fun with it and see the humour in it.

Not afraid to make fun of themselves, and along with some truly amazing choreography this show does appeal to the masses. I am not sure what it’s shelf life will be, as sadly theatre seems to be so dispensable now and through the ever growing evolution of media etc people need more spectacle to be attracted to and to keep their attention. Lets hope this little flash back to the old school theatre manages to twinkle in their eyes.

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