There may be a more whimsical, charming, and funny show out there with more heart and smarts than “Seussical” at The Muny, but if so I have yet to encounter it.
What a long strange trip it has been for The Addams Family. They started out as a collection of unnamed characters in the creepy drawings of the late Charles Addams for “The New Yorker” in the 1930s, got names when they became sitcom stars in the mid-1960s, went through multiple live and animated TV incarnations beginning in the ‘70s, and were the subject of three feature films in the ‘90s.
The main thing you need to know about “The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess” is that it's not the Gershwins' “Porgy and Bess.” Let me me to explain.
Although George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" is now widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of 20th century opera, it took (to quote one of the opera's lyrics) "a long pull to get there".
It's doubtful that the 2006 stage adaptation of Disney's 1999 animated film “Tarzan” will ever make anybody's list of Great Musicals. But the Phil Collins score (expanded from the five numbers he wrote for the movie) is filled with songs that are never less the serviceable and, in the case of “You'll Be in My Heart” and “Sure as Sun Turns to Moon,” really quite moving.
The MUNY opens its 96th season with the heartwarming and hopeful musical "Billy Elliot," based on the popular movie, with book and lyrics by Lee Hall and music by Sir Elton John. The moral, a combination of "be true to yourself" and "don't give up your dreams," is clear from early on, and it's nicely conveyed; but it's the dancing that keeps the audience riveted the entire performance.
The Muny in Forest Park closes out the 2013 season with "West Side Story," the much-loved musical that's still an audience favorite. Featuring music and lyrics by Leonard Bernstein and a young Steven Sondheim, and a book by Arthur Laurents, this modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet still feels fresh and exciting, even though it has been more than 50 years since its debut.
The U.S. had been an Asian empire at least since the Spanish-American War. But the engagements in the Pacific in World War II brought the culture conflicts of East and West home more thoroughly than ever before, penetrating even that most popular and American of entertainments, musical comedy. The result was two of the finest works by the leading post-war words-and-music team, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.
Have you ever seen "Nunsense"? Has anyone not seen "Nunsense" in one of its seven versions, 10,000 productions, or five DVDs over the last 30 years?
The Muny opened its 2013 season on Monday night, a little late and with some trepidation. The monsoon Monday afternoon washed out the final dress rehearsal, which The Muny normally has on the afternoon of the opening evening. So as Executive Producer Mike Isaacson noted a little uneasily in his lengthy curtain speech, Monday night was technical rehearsal, dress rehearsal, and opening night rolled into one.