Off Broadway Reviews
K.T. Sullivan and Mark Nadir give their all in a very entertaining tribute to George and Ira Gershwin called American Rhapsody: A New Musical Revue now playing at the Triad Theatre on West 72nd Street. From the jazzy syncopation of "Fascinatin' Rhythm," to the melancholy love song "They Can't Take That Away From Me," to the operatic "Summertime," the depth and diversity of George Gershwin's musical talent is awe inspiring. What other composer could have a concert piece, such as "Rhapsody in Blue," and a satirical ditty, called "Blah Blah Blah," in the same retrospective of their musical career? As for lyrics, Ira Gershwin is beyond compare. How about "You there in China, me reading Heine" or "My nights are sour, spent with Schopenhauer?" You won't hear the likes of this in Footloose. It is impossible not to be amazed at the beauty and the clarity of Ira's poetry when we listen to the mischievous "It Ain't Necessarily So," or the wistful "The Man I Love."
K.T. Sullivan is a remarkable entertainer. It is clear that she understands the songs she sings with both her mind and her heart. Whether with charm, humor or pensive melancholy, she allows the song to speak for itself. Never does she resort to the histrionics, so common in current musical theater. Her performance of "It Ain't Necessarily So," is, all by itself, worth a trip to the Triad Theater.
Mark Nadler is a very talented Jack-of-all-trades. He's an excellent jazz/pop pianist who can sing, dance and entertain. The only thing he should really avoid is harmonizing. Which, unfortunately, he and Ms Sullivan attempt a little too frequently.
The show could use a little editing and, possibly, a little less historical sentimentality. However, excess is an understandable problem when dealing with the plethora of songs from which to choose. My guess is that audiences who are getting depressingly used to the mediocrity of today's musical theater can easily tolerate a few too many Gershwin melodies. One word of warning: expect to leave the theater with a head full of songs that you'll be singing for weeks to come.
American Rhapsody: A New Musical Revue