I wanted to like “On the Town” more than I did. How can you not like a show that begins with the audience standing & singing “The Star-Spangled Banner “? There’s the iconic score by Leonard Bernstein and the show itself was inspired by Jerome Robbins. But the tale of three sailors on leave struck me as too long in the tooth and too long in running time.
There are bright spots in the show. The dancing is at turns ethereal or enthusiastic. Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, brings grace to her role as the former Miss Turnstiles. There are comic moments by Jackie Hoffman as a voice teacher/lounge singer who likes to nip at whatever liquid is in her flask. And there is the sass & brass of Alysha Umphires as Hildy, the type of NYC cabdriver you don’t see anymore (if they ever existed).
But clocking in at over two hours, the plot of the show sagged – even though the cast’s energy didn’t. I found the sub-plot between one of the sailors and a female anthropologist (and her fiancée) silly and tiresome. A montage of nightclub scenes went on too long and I felt like I was waiting for an actual subway in the time it took Miss Turnstiles and “her” sailor to finally connect. This show at the Lyric Theatre didn’t hit all the right notes. AFW
Lyric Theater 213 W 42nd Street
Ticket prices: $46.25 – $157.25
Discounts: Theatermania $79-$89 (http://www.theatermania.com/broadway/discount-tickets/on-the-town_303448/)
Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes with one intermission