Review Roundup: NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT - All the Reviews!
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, featuring music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and a book by Joe DiPietro, stars Matthew Broderick and Kelli O'Hara. The production is directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall and it opens tonight, April 24, 2012 at Broadway's Imperial Theatre!
In addition to Matthew Broderick as Jimmy Winter and Kelli O'Hara as Billie Bendix, the production also stars Estelle Parsons as Millicent Winter, Judy Kaye as Estonia Dulworth, Michael McGrath as Cookie McGee, Jennifer Laura Thompson as Eileen Evergreen, Chris Sullivan as Duke Mahoney, Robyn Hurder as Jeannie Muldoon, Stanley Wayne Mathis as Chief Berry and Terry Beaver as Senator Max Evergreen.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Ben Brantley, New York Times: Every now and then, a bubble of pure, tickling charm rises from the artificial froth of “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” the pastiche of a 1920s musical featuring songs by George and Ira Gershwin. Most of this show, which opened on Tuesday night at the Imperial Theater, registers as a shiny, dutiful trickle of jokes and dance numbers performed by talented people who don’t entirely connect with the whimsy of a bygone genre. The couple moves in effortless, hypnotized harmony, covering a complete catalog of ballroom steps, while tumbling over furniture and waltzing up a staircase. Mr. Broderick and Ms. O’Hara may not have the expertise of Astaire and Rogers. (Who does?) But they summon the spirit and subtext of every transcendent mating dance from the Fred-and-Ginger movies.
Elysa Gardner, USA Today: True, Nice Work If You Can Get It (* * * out of four) doesn't use an inane story line to simply string together a beloved band or singer's catalog or a bunch of disparate rock chestnuts. Instead, it uses an inane story line to string together the timeless songs of George and Ira Gershwin. ... Broderick turns Jimmy into the kind of character he does best: a sweetly deadpan social doofus. He also sings breezy tunes such as 'S Wonderful and Do, Do, Do and dances with an appealingly light touch, especially when spinning his leading lady around in a witty second-act sequence. O'Hara proves once again that there's pretty much nothing she can't do on stage. No matter that the tough but tender Billie can seem quaint; the actress makes her adorable and funny, and as usual sings gorgeously — though you may wish they had relaxed the tempo a bit on Someone To Watch Over Me or But Not For Me, and let that sumptuous soprano linger more.
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press: While O'Hara and Matthew Broderick are the stars on stage, the real credit for this very enjoyable romp goes to book writer Joe DiPietro and director and choreographer Kathleen Marshall. They've managed to take about 20 songs from the George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin catalog, marry them to the skeleton of the 1926 musical "O, Kay!" and emerge with a plot that makes madcap sense with songs that feel right for the occasion. If this is a jukebox musical, this is how you do it right.
David Sheward, Backstage: You’d think that any show involving the talents of Matthew Broderick, Kelli O’Hara, Kathleen Marshall, and the brothers Gershwin would be a sure-fire Broadway stunner, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” despite a few bright spots, fails to hold together as a glittering entertainment, unlike previous efforts such as “My One and Only” and “Crazy for You.”
Adam Markovitz, Entertainment Weekly: The musical flits between delightful and exasperating on a second-by-second basis — boosted by terrific supporting players (especially Judy Kaye as a zealous teetotaler) and dragged down by Broderick, who waltzes alongside his costars with the good-natured boredom of a tipsy wedding guest. Luckily for him, the show has a built-in fail-safe: the Gershwin songbook, a portable fireworks kit of dazzlers ('Someone to Watch Over Me,' 'Do It Again') guaranteed to charm just about anyone, theater fan or not.
Wilborn Hampton, The Huffington Post: Who says they don't write Broadway musicals like they used to? Joe DiPietro and Kathleen Marshall have teamed up to reshuffle the Gershwin playlist into a new musical, named for the familiar tune "Nice Work If You Can Get It," that is quite simply, to borrow another song title, "Delishious." And with Kelli O'Hara as a bootlegger and Matthew Broderick as a Roarin' Twenties playboy, one can only say bring back Prohibition!
Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: Overall, the show is too afraid of emotional engagement, which is silly when you have these songs and O'Hara's voice and Broderick's likable self to deliver them. More truth and honesty would make the work considerably nicer — and, for the audience, easier to get.
Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer: The cast is spot-on. Is there any ingenue role in musical theater that Kelli O’Hara — of “The Pajama Game” and “South Pacific” revivals — couldn’t make her very own? In “Nice Work,” even given a stellar cast, when she’s on the stage she often is the single focus, by sheer force of her ability to sing any song fully in character, and deliver it with a striking musicality. This leaves her leading man, Matthew Broderick, in an uncomfortable position. Although his part of a rich playboy with a low-wattage brain means he must appear as a constant shade of gray among the colorful characters on stage, a part he delivers earnestly, his singing seems only serviceable by comparison to O’Hara’s.
David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: Broderick is winningly paired with the luminous Kelli O’Hara (South Pacific), and the leads are backed by a string of top-notch character turns. Throw in 21 tunes from two of the preeminent practitioners of the American musical and you have a cocktail that should go down easily with Broadway nostalgists. It might also draw audiences seduced by the magic and glamour of Jazz Age entertainment in this year’s Oscar-winner The Artist.
Steven Suskin, Variety: The newly manufactured 1920s-set musical "Nice Work if You Can Get It" crams vintage Gershwin songs into a bubbly crowdpleaser, enchantingly rendered by thesps Kelli O'Hara, Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye. Mix in staging and choreography by Kathleen Marshall ("Anything Goes") and a cheerfully screwball if somewhat creaky new book by Joe DiPietro, and you've got what might be termed a good new old-fashioned musical. If only its likable, hard-working leading man -- a miscast Matthew Broderick -- didn't seem to be painfully concentrating on his next step, all night long.
Matt Windman, amNY: While Kathleen Marshall's crowd-pleasing production lacks the inspired showstopper choreography of her revival of "Anything Goes," it makes for nonstop giddy fun thanks to its dynamic cast, Joe DiPietro's wickedly funny dialogue and a treasure trove of timeless Gershwin favorites and rarities. At first, Broderick seems ill at ease, especially while dancing. But soon enough he wins over the audience with his charm and thin but pleasant singing voice. O'Hara, best remembered as Nellie Forbush in the "South Pacific" revival, proves that she can also sparkle in a silly comedy.
Scott Brown, Vulture: Nice Work is a lovely, witty diversion. Marshall’s musical troika (orchestrator Bill Elliott, musical director Tom Murray and music supervisor David Chase) have sculpted a swelling throughline score out of Gershwin’s songs and instrumental compositions, with judicious, occasionally rather sly quotes from Rhapsody in Blue, The Three Note Waltz, and many others. Nobody fills a big space like Marshall. Nice Work is perfectly nice work, an old-fashioned romp with a well-deployed prop in the center ring: If the show is Jackie Chan, Broderick is the vase he’s juggling.
Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg: The show, drawing hither and yon from the Gershwin songbook, demonstrates how hard it is to create the illusion of effortless whimsy. A new book by Joe DiPietro pays heavy-handed tribute to the flimsy plots that Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse once devised for George and Ira to showcase their sublime ditties. The result is mostly a flop-sweat inducing affair. However appealing Broderick and O’Hara are individually, as romantic leads, they’re weak sparks on damp leaves. Fortunately, a pair of first-rate second bananas -- Judy Kaye and Michael McGrath -- partly salvage this misguided enterprise.