Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, March 19, 2015

It Shoulda Been You

Fasten your seat belts because David Hyde Pierce's directorial debut on Broadway is going to be a wild ride.  Prepare for hilarity, mix ups, and mayhem, in what just might be the funniest original musical on the boards right now.

Helmed by the incomparable Tyne Daly (Judy Steinberg) and the zany Harriet Harris (Georgette Howard), the show revolves around the marriage of their two children Rebecca Sternberg (Sierra Boggess) and Neil Patrick Harris' husband a.k.a David Burtka (Brian Howard).   Although below the title, the real workhorses of this show were Edward Hibbert (Albert, the wedding planner) and Lisa Howard (Jenny Steinberg) sister of the bride.

The show has a real heart and as it turns out, a real message too.  At the same time funny, and tender, Brian Hargrove's (husband of Mr. Pierce) book and lyrics bring this 105 minute, no-intermission show to a joyous celebration of life.  Barbara Anselmi's music is serviceable with a few high notes but we're not going to see any Tonys come out of this one.   But make no mistake, the comedic skills of the two leading ladies - Ms. Daly and Ms. Harris as well as those of Mr. Hibbert are most of what makes this show a smashing success.  The good looks of Ms. Boggess and Mr. Burtka are just icing on the cake.

One under-the-radar and certainly under-promoted stars on the bill is Josh Grisetti (Marty Kaufmann).  From his debut in the audience to his silky smooth voice and the emotional conclusion, Mr. Grisetti imbues a nebbish yet sexy and powerful persona in Marty.  His significance to the plot is paramount and by the end of the show you've changed your entire opinion of him.

This show has a lot of doors and a fair amount of physical comedy to which timing is the key.  It reminded me of Noises Off.  The entire cast works really hard and climbs and descends the two story set throughout the show.  I must assume they'll shave about 5-10 minutes off the show as they perfect the timing and tighten up the scene changes and the curtain call.  

Bravo Mr. Hargrove and Mr. Pierce.  You've got a top notch cast singing and acting their heart out every night to what I can only suspect will be to thunderous applause and a feel-good exit from the theatre.  Isn't that exactly how it shoulda be?  :-)