Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER re-conceived and revamped starring the reliable Harry Connick, Jr.

December 19th, 2011 by Oscar E Moore

There won’t be any comparisons made here to the original production or the movie.  Let them rest in peace. 

This imaginative production, re-conceived and directed by Michael Mayer with a new book by Peter Parnell based on the original by Alan Jay Lerner who wrote the excellent, witty and memorable lyrics with music by Burton Lane, is daring in its conception and intentions, certainly controversial with its story line and remarkably entertaining with a score to die for brilliantly orchestrated by Doug Besterman.

Perhaps Broadway isn’t ready for a 1970’s gay, chain smoking florist, David Gamble (David Turner) who has major problems with cigarettes and committing to his handsome boyfriend Warren (an excellent Drew Gehling) hypnosis and reincarnation.

Trying to kick the habit and on the advice of his best girl friend/roommate Muriel (Sarah Stiles) David takes in a group therapy session with the sexy, calm-with-a-really-low-key-demeanor psychiatrist Dr. Mark Bruckner (Harry Connick, Jr.) and immediately falls under his hypnotic spell resulting in repeated visits whereupon his past life as a 1940’s Jazz singer, Melinda Wells (Jessie Mueller) bursts forth and a star is born.  More of Jessie in a minute.

The Dr. who is recovering from the death of his beloved wife falls for Melinda in a lapse of professional etiquette.  David falls for the Doctor.  Who wouldn’t?  Even the Doctor’s colleague Dr. Stein (Kerry O’Malley) is in love with him.  All quite simple unless you are part of the “ménage a quatre.”

Whenever Connick sings those wonderful Lerner & Lane songs (some brought in from Royal Wedding) with his laid back Sinatra style in tact the audience is spellbound. 

Pairing him with a compatible 1940’s stylist/Jazz nightclub singer is a smart move.  And casting Jesse Mueller a stroke of genius.  She truly has that “it” quality that will make her a star.  Looking like a young Liza Minnelli with a gorgeous voice, a command of the stage, a naturalness and comic flair that mesmerizes, she makes the Melinda/David/Dr. Bruckner affair believable which comes to full fruition with “You’re All the World to Me” when the three dance together courtesy of sublime choreography by Joann M. Hunter.

NY Times photo by Sara Krulwich

NY Times photo by Sara Krulwich

David Turner has an innocent nebbish-y quality that is endearing.  And we truly feel for him as he falls deeper in love questioning what has happened with his show stopping rendition of “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have.”

The set design by Christine Jones is a bit of an eyesore.  Costumes by Catherine Zuber must be blamed on the 70’s and not her talent. 

Take a chance on this radically different love story.  Open your eyes as that beautiful number suggests.  Revel in the sumptuousness of its score and enjoy the charm of Connick and witness the emergence of Broadway’s newest star – the best holiday gift of all – Jessie Mueller – who by the way would make a terrific Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.

www.onacleardaybroadway.com  Photo:  Paul Kolnick

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1 John Clifton Dec 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    The Little Show That Could

    Dear Mr. Moore,

    This is an unusual theater story. You might call it “The Little Show That Could.” I’m convinced that your readers would find it of interest.

    It’s about a campaign, now underway, to revive the classic musical Man with a Load of Mischief.

    My name is John Clifton. With Ben Tarver, I wrote the show, which opened Off Broadway on November 6, 1966. Ben and I were confident that we had a good show. But we were unprepared for the reaction that followed….

    The reviews were rhapsodic. Audiences adored the show. Since then, Mischief has been staged worldwide. Even today, more than four decades later, many people remember the show with such unbounded enthusiasm that they have been described as a cult.

    Ironically, though, Mischief, which has been called a “treasure of American musical theater,” has never had a first-class revival in New York. Now, that’s about to change…

    We’ve decided to bring Mischief back this coming year. To that end, I’ve launched a major promotion to raise funds for a series of fully-staged performances that will attract producers to finance an open-ended run.

    The campaign is on Kickstarter.com—which, as you probably know, is the popular new site where people can donate to worthwhile projects, many in the performing arts. We already have dozens of contributors and are one-third of the way toward the goal. The campaign ends on January 6, 2012.

    My colleagues and I have been amazed and gratified by the reaction we’re received in the past few weeks: the number of people who remember the show fondly and have shown their support with generous donations. And still more who weren’t familiar with it, but who were intrigued when they saw the Kickstarter video and heard the songs.

    Fans of Man with a Load of Mischief have been clamoring for years for a major revival. Via the Kickstarter campaign and a commercial production in New York in 2012, a whole new generation can discover this timeless musical.

    The score of Mischief consistently receives raves. Critics praise the “melodic songs” and “elegant” and “witty” lyrics.

    As you know, Broadway is now populated with shows based on old movies, rock-and-roll tunes, and flying superheroes. Even with $75-million budgets, New Yorkers and visitors alike are often disappointed by the choice of theatrical fare that’s available. We think it’s time to bring back a charming, melodic, good old musical musical—the kind that hasn’t been seen in ages.

    Here’s our Kickstarter page. It contains background information, a short and entertaining video, and a song sampler.


    Wouldn’t your readers be intrigued by this story?

    I’m confident that they would be fascinated to learn about Man with a Load of Mischief—and welcome the opportunity to help bring it back to the stage via our Kickstarter campaign.

    As noted above, Mischief is a very different sort of musical than the ones currently on Broadway or Off. It deserves a major revival, as confirmed by its many enthusiastic fans worldwide.

    I’m at your disposal for an interview. Or if you prefer, I can provide you with a release or text for an article. Please reply to this message or phone me. Thanks for your consideration.

    John Clifton

    (212) 724-1578

    175 West 87th Street, Unit 27E
    New York, NY 10024

    TWITTER http://www.twitter.com/JohnClifton6

    FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1251189792#!/pages/Man-with-a-Load-of-Mischief/164071047020905