Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trying To Beguile Again, Pal Joey Opens On Broadway

Trying To Beguile Again, Pal Joey Opens On Broadway

This evening, Roundabout Theatre Company's retooled revival of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart's classic Pal Joey finally opens at Studio 54. With Joe Mantello at the helm, this is the final show to open on Broadway during this calendar year.

As noted above, this is not a straightforward revival as Richard Greenberg has provided a substantial rewrite to John O'Hara's book. This Pal Joey stars Stockard Channing as the stage's original cougar, Vera Simpson, while Broadway's current straight play "it girl" Martha Plimpton takes on Gladys Bumps -- her first musical role.

Much has happened since none other than Hugh Jackman was first being touted for the title role. Jersey Boys' Tony-winning Christian Hoff was since cast as Joey Evans, only to be sidelined during previews because of "foot injury." Hoff was replaced last month by Matthew Risch, whose most recent Broadway gig was as the reprehensible Carlos in the abysmal Legally Blonde musical.

Will life imitate art with this former chorus boy making critics recall 42nd Street's Peggy Sawyer? Will critics be bewitched, bothered or bewildered? Find out tomorrow as I provide my critics' capsule, along with my very own SOB Review.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 20 December, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben Brantley is an old churl. How can he not see the glorious charm and wit and pizazz of Pal Joey? The night I went the audience was mesmerized, the place was abuzz with pure joy. Stockard Channing was tough and touching, Martha Plimpton nailed her role, Matthew Risch was perfectly adorable and perfectly loathsome as Joey - despite having an overactive sweat gland - and Jenny Fellner has the voice of an angel. Bah humbug to you Ben Brantley!


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