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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

 
NO,NO, NANETTE
at City Center Stage

YES, YES, NANETTE
By MATT WINDMAN

  PH: Joan Marcus

Walter Boobie's peppy, perky, almost perfect revival of the 1925 musical comedy No, No, Nanette is cooking up a heavenly amount of tap-happy jazz-age fun at City Center.. Whereas most Encores! productions play only for a single weekend, there is one final performance of Nanette on Monday night. Though rumors are spreading that it might transfr to Broadway, we advise you not to wait on that possibility.

With some of the most hummable show tunes ever written, like Tea for Two and I Want to be Happy, the 1971 revival version of of the show started the nostalgia craze on Broadway. Jubilant, refreshing and campy, it tells the story of bible publisher Jimmy Smith, his lawyer Billy Early, their wives, and the trouble they all get into one madcap summer weekend in Atlantic City.

Aii its farcial mix-ups that ensue are mainly meant to provide a vehicle for its song-and-dance showstoppers. Randy Skinner's tap-dance soft-shoe and Charleston choreography is so detailed that a few pratfalls occurred at our performance, but nothing to quibble about. Also keep in mind that Nanette, like all Encores! productions, received a very short rehearsal period.

Joining its large bevy of cute chorines is one of the most impressive principal casts ever assembled together for an Encores! show: Rosie O'Donnell, Sandy Duncan, Beth Leavel, Michael Berresse, Charles Kimbrough, Mara Davi, Jen Cody and Nancy Anderson. And they all dance. Even Rosie. And at curtain call, they all play ukuleles.

But dancing and light comedy aside, the biggest thrill of Nanette must be the return of Rob Fisher, to conduct Ralph Burns' incredible orchestrations.

Eighty years from now, will anyone still be listening to the scores of In the Heights or Passing Strange? We think not. Yet most of the audience now at Nanette is ready to sing along to I Want to Be Happy on cue. Quite honestly, we can't think of any other musical this season that made us feel so giddily, carelessly, non-cynically happy.

 


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