Fifth in a series of Broadway reports
NEW YORK — One truly positive thing can be said of “New York, New York:” the title song immortalized separately and specifically by Frank Sinatra and Liza Minnelli has become an awesome theme song for the city that never sleeps.
From that mammoth hit song emerged the phrase, “My Kind of Town,” and clearly New York is everybody’s kind of town.
This show, based on an earlier film, not so much. The powerful title song is not delivered till the finale, which is logical, and the Francine Evans character, (Anna Uzeke) emerges singing the tune with the 20-something musicians wailing and soaring brassy notes on trumpets, trombones, French horns and supported by violin, guitar, viola and more.
If this rousing and soulful number was performed at the very opening of “New York, New York,” everyone would be wholly satisfied. We could all have gone home. The cast could have been dismissed for early dinner and call it a night.
But we had to wait through a mess of wayward subplots, and two acts of inconsequential songs and dancers, with little reward and beaucoup yawning.
This was not my kind of town, nor my kind of play.
This was a prime disappointment in the annals of Broadway musical history – a one-song wonder.
You can’t wholly blame the cast, which stars Colton Ryan as Jimmy Doyle, with standby Mike Cefalo in the performance I saw, Anna Uzeke as Francine Evans, Clyde Alves as Tommy Caggiano, John Clay III as Jesse Webb, Janet Dacal as Sofia Diaz, Ben Davis as Gordon Kendrick, Oliver Prose as Alex Mann, Angel Sigala as Mateo Diaz aka he/him, and Emily Skinner as Madame Veltri. Considering that this behemoth of a stinker – with high anticipation and grim delivery from multi-Tony winner Susan Stroman — is astonishing.
If Lin-Manuel Miranda, himself a Tony veteran, wrote new lyrics and infused Latin rhythms, the credits don’t acknowledge the tunes with cooperation from Broadway veteran John Kander, so even this is a puzzlement.
The script by David Thomas and Sharon Washington attempts to reflect the common notion that New York is a place of opportunity, where dreams can come true, and immigrants can start a new life.
Failure should not be an option in musical theater life, but “New York, New York” staggers and putters with no compass to turn around its misfortune. Some may find pearls and potency in this one, but nada for me. It misses the mark on several levels. …
‘New York, New York’
“New York, New York” is musical inspired by the motion picture written by Earl M. Rauch, with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, with book by David Thompson co-written by Sharon Washington with additional lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda; directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman
Playing at the St. James Theatre on Broadway
Broadway grosses, for week ending July 2
“Back to the Future,” a new musical based on the popular movie, has shown remarkable box office power in its first few shows: it grossed $1.035 million after it premiered June 30. Not enough to make the Top 10 roster of shows, but just enough for it to join the Million Dollar Club.
We list the Top 7 here, which still is dominated by the long-running productions:
1 – “The Lion King,” $2.485 million.
2—“Hamilton,” $1.892 million.
3—“Wicked,” $1.880 million.
4—“Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” $1.794 million.
5—“Aladdin,” $1.607 million.
6—“MJ, the Michael Jackson Musical,” $1.557 million.
7—“Harry Potter & the Cursed Child,” $1.46 million.
Here’s the full list, courtesy The Broadway League:
And that’s Show Biz. ..