Arriving at LaGuardia at noon today, and at my hotel at 1.15 (awful traffic!), I was still able to run ’round the corner to purchase a 40% off ticket for Gershwin’s Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Imperial (where I twice saw Billy Elliott), starring Matthew Broderick and Kelly O’Hara.
The show is a pastiche, with a flimsy and silly story line built around verses to Gershwin songs. It has the same formula as so many other shows from the 20s and 30s (and The Drowsy Chaperone), with the playboy, the chorus girl, the girl with whom he falls in love, the two criminals, the moralist, the last-minute savior, and the dancing chorus.
Flimsy and silly and puff, it was, but what fun!
Broderick is aging well (even with dyed hair), and still has the comfortable footwork well enough. He wasn’t feeling well today (if his cough at the stage door was any indication), but he knew how to mug for laughs and keep us entertained. He’s played this role in movies and shows before, and it’s a comfortable one for him.
Kelli O’Hara, who I saw in a cabaret act in Salt Lake City two summers ago, sang the hell out of her few solo turns. She was funny and warm and managed to make the most of the motivation-less part written for her character.
The star of the day was Judy Kaye, who brought down the house near the top of Act Two with a drunken routine that had her literally swinging from the chandelier. The elderly Indian man next to me was laughing so hard he started coughing.
The show leaves one feeling happy about being in NYC. I’m awfully glad I saw it first this trip.
Wednesday matinees are new to me, and I am reminded that, as in Saint Louis or Kansas City, they tend toward the older crowd. I saw more duchesses and dowagers today in one place than at a Red Hat Society conclave. But they knew and loved these songs!
Here are shots from after the show at the stage door: