The book to Dear World is really, really bad (spoilers)
Posted by: mikem 10:56 am EDT 03/16/23

I saw the Encores! production of Dear World last night. The cast and the orchestra are wonderful but the book for this staging of Dear World is really, really terrible. I know the show is supposed to be whimsical/satiric/etc, but the characters and plot are incoherent, it drags and is all over the place, and it's just a mess. The "concert adaptation" is by Sandy Rustin, and it makes me wonder how much David Ives and others may have had to massage books in the past.

Some directorial decisions don't help. For example, before the dialogue begins, the Prospector is shown tasting the water from a pipe, with a grin on his face afterwards; does that mean when he orders the water later at the Cafe, it's a sham because he's already tasted it? It's already confusing within the first five minutes. I think a more lively staging would have helped somewhat, but the book would still be the terrible book it is.

Of note, Lear deBessonet came out before the show and said that Donna Murphy tested positive for COVID on the first day of rehearsal so missed quite a bit of an already shortened period. Murphy carried the script with her during the book scenes but didn't refer to it at all during the songs. I will say that the handing off and picking up of the script was handled extremely well, and it was as unobtrusive as it could be.

For those who know the show: there was a protracted portion with "the Artiste," who is essentially a mime, having a bit about raising the curtain at the top of Act II. Is that in the original script?

During one part of it, the Artiste seemed to be gesturing towards an audience member but it was unclear what he wanted that person to do; did he want that person to get up or not? That person didn't seem to know either and didn't get up.

I will say it's always nice to see Christopher Fitzgerald on stage. I've seen him in several shows, but I don't know if he's ever been the lead in a Broadway production. I hope he gets that chance someday.

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Next: re: The book to Dear World is really, really bad (spoilers) - FleetStreetBarber 08:03 am EDT 03/17/23

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