David Hyde Pierce knows from funny. He has a great track record. And in his first ever directorial stint on Broadway he brings out every ounce of funny from his expertly assembled cast. Funny is good. Audiences love to laugh. And IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU supplies farcical fun in its whirlwind 100 building-to-a-surprise-climax-minutes of musical mayhem.
It’s the Steinbergs vs. the Howards. The very pretty Rebecca Steinberg (Sierra Boggess) is about to marry the very pretty Brian Howard (David Burtka) as plus size and also very pretty sister Jenny Steinberg (Lisa Howard) laments the upcoming nuptials that she has been organizing with the assistance of “the one who lives to serve” Albert (Edward Hibbert) wedding planner of the St. George Hotel (a nicely rendered two tier unit set of the hotel with lots of doors by the always dependable and creative Anna Louizos).
It’s their mothers that are at odds with one another. The outspoken Judy Steinberg (Tyne Daly) who has a knack for delivering the gleeful putdown and the always-looking-for-a-helpful-drink Georgette Howard (fancy pants Harriet Harris) whose trust fund son Brian is to wed a Jewish girl. She does her best to stop him from marrying Becca lamenting the fact that she has done everything to do so including trying to bring him up gay.
Murray Steinberg (Chip Zien) and George Howard (Michael X. Martin) do their best to steer clear of their wives. And there is an unexpected “bonding” song between Brian and his dad that is sweet, old fashioned and says a lot without hammering us over the head.
Best man Greg Madison (Nick Spangler) and Best woman Annie Shepard (Montego Glover) make up the rest of the odd wedding party.
Mama Steinberg has it in for her heavy set daughter continuing to chip at her self-esteem which isn’t very high to begin with. When Judy inadvertently calls Marty Kaufman (Josh Grisetti – in a brilliant touch answering his cell phone from the audience) he is alerted that the wedding is to take place and frantically proceeds to stop it. He had been her best friend until he dropped Becca.
And therein lies the title as all the Steinberg’s sing that he is the one that should be marrying Becca. Will he fulfill their dreams?
The songs are pleasant enough and carry the plot along nicely with some clever lyrics. Brian Hargrove has written the very funny book and lyrics with Barbara Anselmi coming up with the concept and music. Mr. Hargrove and Mr. David Hyde Pierce are a couple in real life and they are very in tune with each other in this theatrical coupling. They seem to bring out the best in each other.
The impeccably cast actors are all first rate comics and comediennes. IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU is a master class in comic timing and should you be in the mood for non-stop laughter and farcical proceedings I suggest you see this little Broadway musical that could.
The surprises in store for you are not only amusing but are emotionally heartfelt – dealing with sexual identity and self-esteem. What is truly important in order to be happy with one’s-self.
As the planned wedding disintegrates more and more Albert, the irresistible Hibbert, states that he is glad that he didn’t call in sick that day to witness first hand all that is happening. Don’t call in sick – see this lovely wedding deception. At the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Photos: Joan Marcus
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