All tagged Jerry Bock

Broadway Musical Time Machine: Looking Back at Fiorello!

It’s been a big year for the composing team of Bock and Harnick, with Broadway revivals of their two beloved pieces Fiddler on the Roof and She Loves Me. The success of both of these revivals speaks to the durability of their work and to their place in the pantheon of musical theatre greats. At one point in time, there was a third Bock and Harnick musical that was as revered as the aforementioned titles, but that has faded somewhat into obscurity today. Fiorello!, which opened on Broadway in 1959, was a big hit, financially and critically. The story of the former NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia played to an audience who had memories of the reform politician who took on Tammany Hall in the early part of the 20th Century.  

She Loves Me: A Review

Lately, I have been bemoaning the absence of pure joy in musical theatre. In fact, it seems that most Broadway musicals have to be emotionally eviscerating or screaming, over-microphoned, power belting diva battles to succeed. If comedy is attempted, musical theatre has to be salacious, mean-spirited or vulgar. Sometimes it is nice to go to the theatre and just get absorbed in a delightful plot, a comedy of errors with characters who make you smile and songs that stick in your brain because they actually have a melody. Is it any wonder, then, that I find myself in a state of euphoria over The Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of the 1963 Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, and Joe Masteroff musical She Loves Me.  

Benanti and She Loves Me – The Role She Was Born to Play

She Loves Me is one of those musicals that has a special little following in the musical theatre community, beloved for its intimate structure, its lush and lovely Bock & Harnick score, and for its gentle little romantic/comedy of errors plot. It is considered a coup-de-theatre-going to see a production of this under-produced gem. Laura Benanti is one of those musical theatre stars who inspires her own special following thanks to her ability to transform herself so thoroughly and thoughtfully with each role she plays. She also has an audacious sense of humor, a sparkling wit, a touch of irreverence, and a most affecting singing voice. Her ability to balance humor with heart makes her the perfect choice to play the lovesick shop clerk Amalia Balash in She Loves Me. Fortunately, Roundabout Theatre had that same thought and cast Ms. Benanti (in the role that she was born to play) in their forthcoming revival that is now in previews at Studio 54.

Fiddler's Flaw - A Review

There are a lot of amazing things happening on stage at the Broadway Theatre in the current revival of Fiddler on the Roof: artistry, beautiful singing, poignancy, poetry and a darkness that underscores a bleak time in the history of European Jews. There is also a disappointing lack of joy in a production that is so earnest in telling the hardship and heartache that it forgets that there is a reason why we love Anatevka and are moved by it's quirky denizens: their sense of humor about all things.