Never could I ever imagine that I would refer to a musical score by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick as forgettable. FIORELLO! was my very first Broadway musical and I can still see it in my mind’s eye. It was that unforgettable. TENDERLOIN, SHE LOVES ME and their masterpiece FIDDLER ON THE ROOF followed. Each having wonderful and memorable scores.
But there is a time for everything and so sadly I report that the songs written first for THE ROTHCHILDS (1970) and now for this misguided and reimagined production newly renamed ROTHSCHILD & SONS leaves one wondering what went wrong.
Sherman Yellen has “significantly” revised his original book (based on the book by Frederick Morton) from a two act production with over 40 actors to a single dull elongated one act version (performed without an intermission) for 11 actors that is now at The York Theatre until November 8th
Not only was I disenchanted with this lackluster linear production on Saturday’s matinee but when I went to leave the infamous elevator was once again OUT OF SERVICE – upstaging the show.
Several patrons with walkers and one wheel chair bound man were left stranded in the lobby as a “talk back” was taking place or perhaps they were doing some sort of interview on stage. I have written to the proper authorities about this inexcusable situation. It seems that there is no alternative route of escape for disabled people.
And so what is more important? A mediocre production or the safety of those people who come to support the York?
I imagine everyone would be in favor of elevator safety than what I have to report on this show but here is my take.
Robert Cuccioli is given an A for effort in his portrayal of Mayer Rothschild a German/Jew peddler in Frankfurt who sires five sons so that they can continue the family business -indoctrinating them into doing what he thought best. He was ambitious, aggressive and a risk taker. And expected no less from all his sons. He was successful in turning a ghetto coin business into a huge financial empire. This is their story. Remarkably bland – all things considered.
His dream to secure a declaration of rights for European Jews does happen. And for that alone we should be grateful for Rothschild’s persistence and fortitude.
It is staged to numbing effect by Jeffrey B. Moss.
Photos: Carol Rosegg
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