Seat Filler: NYC Theater Guide for April 2011
BY Brandon Voss
May 11 2011 7:40 PM ET
The People in the Picture
Leave it to Beaches writer Iris Rainer Dart to pen the book and lyrics to the best Jewish musical since Fiddler on the Roof, a Holocaust story with yuks and a serviceable score by old hit-makers Mike Stoller and Artie Butler. Donna Murphy makes a meal of her role as a dying Bubbie recalling her youth as a Yiddish theater actress. Alexander Gemignani, who last played gay in Road Show, costars as her “homosexual” husband of convenience.
Studio 54, through June 19.
Catch Me If You Can
Based on the 2002 film about teen con man Frank Abagnale, Jr., this stylish musical has a gay dream team — librettist Terrence McNally, choreographer Jerry Mitchell, director Jack O’Brien, and composer-lyricists Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman — but as oddly framed by a confession via a ’60s variety show, it’s low on substance. As Frank and his pursuant FBI agent, Howl’s Aaron Tveit and Norbert Leo Butz work hard for little effect.
Neil Simon Theatre, open-ended.
Joel Grey as gangster Moonface Martin does nothing to make this ship-set musical less creaky, but it’s still good for showcasing sparkling Cole Porter tunes (“You’re the Top” always makes me giggle!), hot sailors in tight white pants, and “no homo” moments of mistaken identity. Miscast as brassy nightclub singer Reno Sweeney, Sutton Foster can’t compare to Merman and LuPone, but her big voice and charm keep this revival afloat.
Stephen Sondheim Theatre, through January 8.