It's lovely!
Posted by: Revned 03:46 pm EST 02/07/19
In reply to: So ... how is Call Me Madam? - Ann 08:26 am EST 02/07/19

I saw the opening last night. Beautifully directed by Casey Hushion and choreographed by Denis Jones. They bring exactly the right light, affectionate touch to the dated material; the whole show just floats on air. Hushion ran North Carolina Theatre for a while and is known here as an associate/resident director for numerous Broadway musicals and tours; hopefully this will get her a breakout project of her own.

Carmen Cusack is a marvelous leading lady. Lithe and wasp-waisted, she looks smashing in a series of 1950-era haute-couture gowns, and she has effortless charisma and style. Ben Davis complements her well with his operatic baritone; a real old-school leading man. Jason Gotay and Lauren Worsham are appealing as the secondary comic/romantic couple and both have gorgeous voices. And there are expert comic cameos by various veterans incuding Brad Oscar, Carol Kane, Darrell Hammond, Adam Heller, and Stanley Wayne Mathis.

Even in a "concert adaptation" by Bill Russell and Charles Repole (who directed the first Encores! version of it in 1995) the book feels awfully flimsy and dated. The idea of a wealthy person who gets a political position for the wrong reasons and proceeds to violate protocol in a foreign country and cause international scandals somehow has uncomfortable resonances in today's climate, though in this case of course Sally Adams's heart is in the right place and her generosity of spirit ultimately carries the day.

The Irving Berlin score combines romantic lushness with humor and Broadway brass; every number bursts with joyous theatrical energy, and of course it's brilliantly played by the big orchestra under Rob Berman.

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