Any self-described “common New Yorker . . . who occurs to like musical theater greater than existence itself” — to borrow the phrases of the cranky, frightened, cute Guy in Chair from “The Drowsy Chaperone” — is most probably not to simplest subscribe to Town Middle’s Encores! sequence, however have passionate emotions about which presentations have and feature no longer gained the Encores! remedy.
Programming an Encores! season has were given to be a troublesome dance. Preferably, the presentations will have to no longer be so well known and artistically sound that they benefit full-scale Broadway revivals, however no longer so vintage or problematic that they can not maintain a night’s leisure. Hopelessly obsessed musical theater lovers (reminiscent of myself) spend their unfastened time devising lists of presentations that they imagine Encores! will have to provide.
In line with its opinionated subscribers, and in birthday party of its 25th anniversary, Encores! is launching its new season with “Hiya, Glance Me Over!,” an bizarre and asymmetric excursion of more than a few musicals that Bob Martin (returning to his Guy in Chair character) believes deserve a 2d glance.
Those presentations (most commonly 1960s flops) come with “Wildcat” (famous person car for Lucille Ball), “Jamaica” (famous person car for Lena Horne), “All American” (a couple of international engineering professor-turned-football trainer), “Milk and Honey” (about American vacationers in Israel), “Mack & Mabel” (Jerry Herman’s liked flop about silent film famous person Mabel Normand and manufacturer Mack Sennett), “Greenwillow” (fantasy a couple of far off village and circle of relatives curse), “Sail Away” (Noel Coward’s cruise liner musical comedy) and “George M!” (music and dance-packed bio of George M. Cohan).
This isn’t a live performance, however reasonably a really perfect sampler of overtures, songs and discussion from every musical, with a big forged that incorporates Bebe Neuwirth, Vanessa Williams, Reed Birney, Carolee Carmello, Douglas Sills, Marc Kudisch and Judy Kuhn.
The ensuing display is every so often stress-free however incessantly clunky and disorienting, with some nice solos and duets adopted by way of insipid discussion and ensemble numbers. Whilst all these presentations don’t deserve complete Encores! productions, it’s tricky to take them critically on their very own phrases on this rushed and restricted context.
That being stated, I believe the target market will have to vote on the finish as to which of those musicals it wish to see produced subsequent season. As for my vote? It’s “Mack & Mabel.”