George and Ira Gershwin’s vintage 1924 musical comedy sparkles at Encores! and gets a blast of star power from Broadway legend Tommy Tune.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, February 5, 2015, 12:41 PM
At 91, the gal’s still got it. And “Lady, Be Good” is happily flaunting it.
George and Ira Gershwin’s 1924 Broadway musical, dusted off and polished to a high sheen by the Encores! musical series, packs sparkly singing, twinkle-toed dancing and irresistibly silly good fun — win, win, win.
Guy Bolton and Fred Thompson’s plot, such as it is in this early book show, concerns money, marriage, masquerades and characters from Central Casting.
The action revolves around the penniless brother-and-sister entertainers Dick and Susie Trevor, played by the doubly delightful Danny Gardner and Patti Murin. The sibs were originally played by Fred and Adele Astaire.
As the Trevors try to catch a break — and get a meal — they encounter a covetous socialite (Jennifer Laura Thompson), a good girl (Erin Mackey), a shady lawyer (a droll Douglas Sills), a goofy party guest who sees invisible lizards (Jeff Hiller) and a hunky hobo (Colin Donnell) who’s not who he says he is.
Stirred into the pot — sometimes with grace, sometimes willy-nilly — are Gershwin tunes with some fresh arrangements. “Fascinating Rhythm,” “Little Jazz Bird” and “Oh, Lady, Be Good!” are familiar. Lesser so but also fun are the yodel-laced “Swiss Miss” and the chipper “The Half of It, Dearie, Blues.”
To pull off this sort of fluff requires perfect pitch. Credit director Mark Brokaw, choreographer Randy Skinner, designers and the whole cast for getting tone just right.
Last but not least, there’s special guest star Tommy Tune, a tapping skyscraper who adds real star power. In “Lady, Be Good,” Tommy bedazzles.