BWW Review: BULLETS OVER BROADWAY Hits The Bullseye!
I daresay that Phoenix Theatre's current production of BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is the musical highlight of the 2016-2017 theatre season. It is vintage Michael Barnard, full directorial guns blazing with a keen eye for the best in top-notch craftsmanship and splendid theatricality.
His stellar cast, featuring some of the most versatile song-and-dance performers in the Valley of the Sun (Toby Yatso, Michelle Chin, Caleb Reese, Sally Jo Bannow, Scott Davidson, Emilie Doering, Robert Kolby Harper, and David Dickinson), is locked and loaded for a volley of high-powered performances in a series of spirited numbers that are guaranteed to create a perpetual smile. The ensemble of flappers and goons is pitch perfect.
Woody Allen's 2014 musical (based on his and Douglas McGrath's 1994 film) tells of playwright David Shayne (Yatso, as ever, a magical blend of physical dexterity and comedic prowess), bothered by the compromises involved in staging a Broadway production under the auspices of a mob boss, Nick Valenti (Davidson), bewitched by a Norma Desmond-like diva (Bannow in full glamor) who has one more show in her declining career, and bewildered by the preemptive rewrites of his debut play by a remarkably astute henchman by the name of Cheech (played with superb panache by Reese). Valenti's condition for financing the show is that his girlfriend, the ultra-ditsy and equally talented-bereft Olive Neal (Chin) be cast in the show. Michelle Chin is fantastic in this role, her versatility on full display, enlivening such numbers as I Want A Hotdog for My Roll with sexy sassy swiveling charm and vigor.
Runnin' Wild is a constant refrain and an appropriate one for a show that pulls out all the stops ~ Alan Ruch's robust musical direction, Robert Kovach's stunning period sets, and Carrie Sue Smith's lavish costumes ~ to create one exhilarating and memorable production.
Ready, aim, fire! BULLETS OVER BROADWAY runs through April 2nd and should not be missed.
Photo credit to Reg Madison Photography