where’s the chairman of the board when you need him?

Mrs. Wife came into the city last night and we saw the Roundabout Theater Company revival of Pal Joey that’s in previews. I was lucky enough to see the first two Roundabout productions of the season—A Man for All Seasons and Streamers—and they were both extraordinary, so I had high hopes for Pal Joey. This is a killer ad, isn’t it?

pal1

Pal Joey is a musical based on the John O’Hara novel with songs by Rogers and Hart. This famous still of Frank Sinatra…

frank

…is from the film adaptation of Pal Joey. With a pedigree like that, how can you go wrong?

Well, you start by having a lead with a weak singing voice. It’s a musical about a womanizing night club singer. You need someone who has a smooth voice and a sick amount of charisma. This guy ain’t no Sinatra, that’s for damn sure. Two stage veterans were in the cast; Stockard Channing, who gave a serviceable performance, and Martha Plimpton, who was fantastic. Did you know that Martha Plimpton has a beautiful singing voice? I didn’t.

The story takes place in 1930s Chicago and the dance numbers looked like routines that were rejected from Bob Fosse’s Chicago, which was a way better show. The songs were maudlin and the theater was too hot. The show is in previews and you never know, they could turn it around by opening night. I feel bad for Mrs. Wife. She gets into the city for this sort of thing so infrequently. I wish it had been a killer show for her sake. I wanted everything to be perfect for her but it wasn’t.

7 thoughts on “where’s the chairman of the board when you need him?

  1. rob: Duly noted. Thanks for the reality check.sonny: In the parlance of the day: hubba-hubba. Bring back the bullet bra.nurse: The last play she did was Stoppard’s Coast of Utopia, which is what you’d expect from her. The whole musical-theater thing is a real departure.

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