Music Legend Burt Bacharach Premeire’s New Musical

Jack Lyons Theatre and Movie Critic

It’s been over forty years since singer/composer/icon Burt Bacharach created a new stage musical.  His last effort, “Promises, Promises”, burst onto the Broadway stage with a book by Neil Simon and lyrics by Hal David in 1968 and ran for over 1200 performances establishing him as a force in the pop vocal genre.  He and Hal David literally created the career of Dionne Warwick.

     Flash forward forty-three years to the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White arena stage.  Bacharach is back at the keyboard, but this time he is partnered up with Steven Sater, the Tony and Grammy winning librettist/lyricist of “Spring Awakening”.   Their collaboration takes the famous O. Henry short story “The Gift of the Magi” and turns it into a new book musical called “Some Lovers”, directed by Will Frears.

      The O. Henry story (written in 1904) is a charming and tender tale of love and sacrifice.  It’s the story of a young couple who sell their prized possessions in order to buy each other Christmas gifts.  The husband sells his father’s watch and the wife sells her beautiful hair.  However, each’s sacrifice makes the other’s gift useless.  She buys him a fob for the watch he has sold, and he buys her combs for her missing hair. The underlying theme and power of the story lies not only in the sacrifices each was willing to make but also in the realization that each one was truly loved.

Jason Danieley as Ben, Jenni Barber as Young Molly, Andrew cheap jerseys Mueller ноября as Young Ben and Michelle Duffy as Mollly in Some Lovers ~Henry DiRocco.

     Frears is blessed with a cast of four talented actor/singers who know their way around a musical show.  Each has the talent to take and hold the stage on his own, but the four working as two characters, must cleverly blend the action into a smooth ensemble effort – which they do, in Spades!  Jenni Barber (young Molly) is a singer who can act.  She is always in the moment and her onstage chemistry with Andrew Mueller (young Ben) bubbles to the boiling point.  Michelle Duffy is compelling in her total ambivalence to leaving or staying with a non-committed, vacillating Ben (Jason Danieley). 

     Also, it is a credit to the skill of director Frears that “Some Lovers” has such visual appeal and credibility, despite the fact that the two men and two women don’t physically resemble the young and the older version of themselves that they are portraying (in a perfect world two sets of identical twins would be ideal casting, but, Alas).

     One has to ask, how compelling is a story about “career” versus love?  How much sacrifice in a relationship is enough?  Does the world really care about issues of who in a relationship must give up this or that?  Ultimately, these choices must be left to the audience to decide if the plight of these characters is to resonate.  There were times when I was totally “on board”, and then there was a time when I wasn’t sure.  For example, how can young Ben punch older Ben in the stomach while on stage?  They’re one and the same character, albeit two different actors.  Talk about breaking a theatrical convention (but it did get a laugh).

     The creative Industrial team for “Some Lovers” is wholesale nfl jerseys first rate.  Set Design by Takeshi Amateur Kata, Lighting Design by Ben Stanton, and Sound Design by Leon Rothenberg compliment the music Presents of Bacharach, under Musical Supervisor Lon Hoyt, with orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick.  As the for Bacharach’s music, one can still wholesale mlb jerseys find the remnants of the early Burt in his new ROTO score of “Lovers”, but I’m not quite sure this production has the legs to carry the show all the celebrates way to cheap nfl jerseys Broadway.  “Some Lovers” runs through December 31, 2011.  For reservations and tickets call 619-234-5623 or go online to www.oldglobe.org

Photo by Henry DiRocco

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