Steven Pasquale (middle) in The Robber Bridegroom.
Joan Marcus
For 90 mins of banjo-twangin’, thigh-slappin’, intestine-bustin’, down-house a laugh, head over to The Robber Bridegroom. The Roundabout often provides us revivals of Broadway musicals; this time, they–on the instigation of director Alex Timbers, it sounds as if–dug deep into the documents of now not-slightly-a success titles and got here up with a wonder winner.

The Robber Bridegroom is a worth selection; the display, performed smartly, is offbeat however a radical charmer. And it’s right here performed smartly; as an admirer of the unique manufacturing, which I noticed 3 times (as I used to be a school scholar they usually have been desperately papering all through the beneath-attended run), I will be able to state that Timbers’ manufacturing works higher than the display did on the Biltmore in 1976. What is extra, that manufacturing’s air of secrecy of ‘worth artiness’–which contributed to the loss of price ticket gross sales–has been counteracted through an overplay of excellent, tough and rowdy a laugh within the method of Timbers’ Peter and the Starcatcher and Right here Lies Love. Therefore, what were buffed and polished like a genteel gem of a tale is now a knockabout, raucous romp with all feel of preciousness got rid of.

The robber bridegroom of the name is one Jamie Lockhart (Steven Pasquale), who–with face coated through blackberry stains–is reworked (like Zorro) into the scary Bandit of the Woods. This courtesy of Eudora Welty’s 1942 novella happening way back alongside Mississippi’s Natchez Hint. Lockhart “steals with taste” and prefers “love stolen from the cookie jar” till he meets his fit in Rosamund (Ahna O’Reilly), daughter of rich planter Clement Musgrove (Lance Roberts) and step-daughter to Salome (Leslie Kritzer), the evilest and vilest 2d spouse this aspect of Disney.

They’re surrounded through more than a few woodsy characters just like the small-time villain Little Harp (Andrew Durand); the latter’s brother Large Harp (Evan Harrington), who’s a disembodied however however speaking (and making a song) head in a steamer trunk; the simpleton Goat (Greg Hildreth), who is just too candy-hearted (and dumb) to hold out Salome’s nefarious schemes; and extra. Along with which there’s a 5-guy bluegrass band (led via Cody Owen Stine), each and every of whom are eagerly and fortuitously woven into the lawsuits with their fiddles and guitars.
Ahna O’Reilly and Steven Pasquale in The Robber Bridegroom.
Joan Marcus
The display is through composer Robert Waldman and lyricist/librettist Alfred Uhry, a type of songwriting groups of the Nineteen Sixties mentored by way of the nice Frank Loesser. The pair used to be fated to stay unsuccessful; their first Broadway musical, This is The place I Belong (out of John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden”), used to be a mythical one-night time-flop in 1968. Uhry ultimately set songwriting apart and wrote a play–the 1987 Riding Omit Daisy–which earned him each a Pulitzer and an Oscar. He additionally has Tony Awards for The Remaining Night time of Ballyhoo and the e-book to Jason Robert Brown’s musical Parade.

(The piece used to be at first evolved in workshop at manufacturer Stuart Ostrow’s Musical Theatre Lab in 1974, with Raul Julia within the lead. John Houseman’s Appearing Corporate–that includes appearing graduates of the Drama Department at Juilliard–featured the display in rep of their preliminary excursion, together with a -week 1975 seek advice from on the Harkness Theatre slightly under Lincoln Middle. This manufacturing featured Kevin Kline and Patti LuPone because the robber and his woman. The 1976 Broadway manufacturing used to be an extended model of the display, with Barry Bostwick–the unique best guy of Grease–taking the Highest Actor Tony Award.)

The rating is pleasantly tuneful with a rustic twang, with a few actual beauties (“Sleepy Guy,” “Deeper within the Woods”) jumbled together with an collection of delights (“Nothin’ Up,” “Scouse borrow with Taste,” “Love Stolen”). And the forged does them complete justice. Best the % is Pasquale (The Bridges of Madison County), who has rapidly moved into place because the Broadway musical’s provide-day similar to Alfred Drake or John Raitt. It isn’t a surprise that Pasquale makes a very good and captivating hero. What’s a wonder is O’Reilly–who turns out to have pop out of nowhere, or quite the films–and who brings outright pleasure to the court cases as Rosamund. She is brilliant, humorous and commanding.

So much exceptional is Kritzer, who has performed talented paintings prior to now in A Catered Affair, Elf and Sondheim on Sondheim. She is right here found out to be a knockabout comedienne, person who simply steals the highlight, steals our consideration and contributes uproarious pratfalls. She provides what may well be referred to as an ‘Andrea Martin efficiency’–and that may be a top praise, certainly–during which each and every glance, glare and appearing selection serves to intensify the hilarity.
Leslie Kritzer (middle) in The Robber Bridegroom.
Joan Marcus
That is all Timbers’ doing, one suspects; the manufacturing gives a continual move of snickers and sight gags, a few of which threaten to knock you from your seat. (The whole-frontal nudity of 1976–which gave the impression a bit of misplaced on the time–is herein obscured, and now not overlooked.) Timbers has introduced alongside Donyale Werle, his Starcatcher/Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson set fashion designer, and she or he provides to the thrill. Connor Gallagher contributes efficient and atmospheric choreography, and track director Justin Levine provides us a few particularly pretty choral paintings in “Sleepy Guy.”

All informed, Roundabout’s Robber Bridegroom is an artistic, unconventional, corn-complete pride.
The Roundabout Theatre manufacturing of The Robber Bridegroom opened March thirteen, 2016 and keeps thru Would possibly 29 on the Laura Pels Theatre

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