BWW Reviews: ON THE TOWN at Broadway's Lyric Theater Is a Delight from Start to Finish
The most recent revival of "On the Town", the 1944 smash hit based on Jerome Robbins' "Fancy Free" ballet about three sailors on 24-hour shore leave in NYC, is first-rate on all counts. Right from the moment that the booming bass-baritone voice of Phillip Boykin joins the audience singing "The Star Spangled Banner" as he strolls down an aisle, the show captivates with professionalism and energy that are sustained throughout the evening.
The original production launched the legendary Broadway careers of composer Leonard Bernstein, the writing team of Betty Comden and Adolf Green, and Robbins. Yet Joshua Bergasse, the Emmy-award winning choreographer for the 2014 iteration, more than rose to the occasion of following in such iconic footsteps. From the jazzy numbers punctuated with pigeon wing steps for the sailors to the richly romantic balletic sequences, all of the dance scenes are among the best I've ever seen on the Broadway boards.
A great deal of the credit for that result goes to Bergasse, but the dancers deserve kudos as well. Chief among them is Megan Fairchild, the New York City Ballet principal dancer who is making her Broadway debut in the role of Ivy Smith. Except for a sweet scene in which she does some pointe work as a ballet student at Carnegie Hall, she proves herself to be more than capable of styles beyond her usual comfort zone of classical and neo-classical ballet. She also turns out to be a good little actress even though she's used to performing mime instead of delivering lines. She pretty much holds her own vocally as well. Her character, the winner of the "Miss Turnstiles" contest that is modeled on the actual "Miss Subways" contest dating from the 1940s, is taking singing lessons so that does give her a bit of a break Even so, she did just fine.