The Gershwins'
Fascinating Rhythm

Theatre Review by Fergus McGillicuddy

New York - April 25, 1999


The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm There's really quite a bit to be said in favor of The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm, the compilation/musical revue opening tonight at the Longacre Theatre. (1) At least half of the roughly 30 Gershwin standards it includes have not been totally destroyed by new, bizarre musical arrangements and orchestrations. (2) The minimalist, iris-effect set ceases to irritate after a while and allows you plenty of time to speculate on what led to some of the more resolutely overstated costume designs. (3) The show's logo, printed in color on the cover of the Playbill, is simple and elegant in a glitzy, Donald Trump kind of way. And (4) it's only 90 minutes long.

The cast, when they have not been over directed and over choreographed in futile attempts to "sell" songs which do not benefit from extreme treatments, are a pleasure to watch and listen to. In particular, Michael Berresse, Darius de Haas, Adriane Lenox, a stunningly beautiful young woman named Orfeh, and Sara Ramirez are each given songs and moments in this confused production which easily justifies the price of your ticket. Although, considering what you have to sit through to get to them, I suspect it may be less stressful, cheaper, and more rewarding to skip the show and wait for the cast recording, if there is one.

Noel Coward once wrote a theme song for a television special he and Mary Martin did in the 50s titled "90 Minutes is a Long, Long Time." Too true.

The Gershwins' Fascinating Rhythm, words and music by George and Ira Gershwin. Conceived for the stage by Mark Lamos and Mel Marvin. Source material by Deena Rosenberg. Directed by Mark Lamos. Choreography by David Marques. Scenic design by Michael Yeargan. Costume design by Paul Tazewell. Lighting design by Peggy Eisenhauer. Orchestrations by Larry Hochman. Starring Michael Berresse, Darius de Haas, Adriane Lenox, Orfeh, Sara Ramirez, Patrick Wilson, and featuring Chris Ghelfi, Tim Hunter, Karen Lifshey, Jill Nicklaus, Brian J. Marcum, Kenya U. Massey

Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission.

Theatre: Longacre Theatre, 220 West 48th Street, New York, NY 10036 (between Broadway & 8th Avenue)

Schedule: Tuesday through Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday and Saturday at 2 PM, Sunday at 3 PM. (Added performance Monday, June 28 at 8 PM. No performance Sunday, April 25 at 3 PM, and Sunday, July 4 at 3 PM.)

Audience: This show is suitable for children, but may be inappropriate for children 7 and under. Children under 4 are not permitted in the theatre.

Tickets: $35 - $75

Tickets in person: Box Office hours Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 8 PM, Sunday Noon to 6 PM.

Tickets by phone: Tele-charge at (212) 239-6200, or outside the New York metro area (800) 545-2559, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tickets on-line: NetTiks at http://www.telecharge.com/

Tickets by e-mail: tickets@telecharge.com

Tickets by snail mail: Fascinating Rhythm, PO Box 998, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0998.