All tagged Scott Ellis

Remembering Steel Pier

The composing team of Kander and Ebb were often attracted to properties that allowed them to tell a show-within-a-show story, often using the show or entertainment style within to provide commentary on the show the theatre audience is watching. Cabaret (cabaret), Chicago (vaudeville), Kiss of the Spider Woman (film), Curtains (musical theatre), The Scottsboro Boys (minstrel shows) and, even to a degree the village storytellers in Zorba employ this conceit. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that the team found a way to utilize the dance marathons in Atlantic City of the 1930s to similar effect in the short-lived musical Steel Pier

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.