Review Roundup: CAN-CAN at Paper Mill Playhouse
Paper Mill Playhouse opened its 2014-2015 season with a Broadway-bound, world-class revival of Can-Can on Sunday night, October 5, starring Kate Baldwin as Pistache and Jason Danieley as Aristide. This fresh new production features direction by David Lee (Frasier, Cheers) and choreography by Patti Colombo (Paper Mill's Peter Pan, On the Town, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers). The show features a book by Abe Burrows (Guys and Dolls, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) and a re-crafted script by Joel Fields (Ugly Betty, The Americans) and David Lee.
Also in the cast are Michael Berresse (Hilaire Jussac), Greg Hildreth (Boris Adzinidzinadze), Michael Kostroff (Jean-Louis), Mark Price (Hercule), and Justin Robertson (Étienne).
In Can-Can, Pistache, a Parisian café owner, decides to feature the scandalous dance the Can-Can, but will her defiance of the law end her business and her love life?
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Marina Kennedy, BroadwayWorld: This presentation is the total package. While maintaining the tenor of the original show, this all-new revival of Can-Can has been carefully polished; a fresh, fun musical full of romance, scandal and humor in perfect measure...Baldwin and Danieley perform musical solos beautifully and the onstage chemistry between the two stars brings the show's charming plot full circle. Greg Hildreth as Boris and Michael Kostroff as Jean-Louis add unforgettable humorous moments to the show.
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: Ooh la laaaaaah. Sorry -- that old-fashioned French exclamation inadvertently became a yawn. Naughtiness ain't what it used to be, I'm afraid. The production...features a Broadway-caliber cast...And yet despite the energetic efforts of the cast and creative team...this hard-working production cannot overcome the material's fundamental problems: a Cole Porter score that's distinctly second tier, and a labored plot trimmed in stereotypes of gay Paree that have not exactly aged with the grace of a classic Bordeaux.
Ronni Reich, The Star-Ledger: Forget the Moulin Rouge. If you could travel back in time to fin-de-siècle Montmartre, you'd want to visit the Bal du Paradis. Sure, it's a fictional dance hall, but at the Paper Mill Playhouse, it lives on vivaciously in Cole Porter's "Can-Can," which is now opening the season. Directed by David Lee...the production comes across as eager to please, complete with audience participation -- and it consistently does, in spite of source material as fluffy as its dancers' skirts.
Jim Beckerman, NorthJersey.com: "Can-Can," at the Paper Mill Playhouse, is what it probably always was: pure Champagne...Strong voices, supple dancing, good comedy "business" in the right places, good swordplay in unexpected places, exceptional scenic design by Rob Bissinger, colorful and vivid costumes by Ann Hould-Ward and inventive direction by David Lee provide enough fizz and fun to make for a happy evening. Talent, like Champagne, can take the edge off anything.
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Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy