Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#1
Posted: 2/18/20 at 11:47pm

Impressive major fully-staged revival Feb 19-23 is directed & choreographed by Josh Rhodes with music direction by Rob Berman. This is a not-to-be-missed event for one week only. It sounds great, looks unlike anything seen in previous Encores productions, & casting is impeccable (pther than a black 'Fatty' Arbuckle.) Let's hear from the Broadway World community here of your experiences with this tuneful Jerry Herman mounting.

Updated On: 2/19/20 at 11:47 PM
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#2
Posted: 2/19/20 at 12:08pm

How is it different from previous Encores productions? Some of those, if not fully staged, came pretty close. I have tickets for the weekend. 

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#3
Posted: 2/19/20 at 12:30pm

I can't even remember the last time they didn't "fully stage" at Encores. They still used books in some of the past off-centers, but they've been basically full productions (with limited sets--drops, limited movable pieces) for seasons now.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#4
Posted: 2/19/20 at 1:53pm
I can’t wait to read the reports. I hope it’s a huge success.
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#5
Posted: 2/19/20 at 1:59pm

Just picked up a ticket to see this on Sunday afternoon! Very much looking forward to it.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#6
Posted: 2/19/20 at 3:21pm
Any discounts out there? Surprised it wasn't on tkts tonight.
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#7
Posted: 2/19/20 at 3:59pm

barcelona20 said: "Any discounts out there? Surprised it wasn't on tkts tonight."

Me too – it seems to be selling quite nicely, which I'm happy for them about. That said, there are 20% or so discounts in the usual spots (BroadwayBox, Theatermania, etc.) and plenty of reasonably priced balcony tickets left.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#8
Posted: 2/19/20 at 4:34pm

I'm looking forward to this as well! Surprised there weren't more discounts (why did you foresake me TDF), but that BroadwayBox code turned front balcony into $60 seats. 

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#9
Posted: 2/19/20 at 5:01pm

I was at the invited dress and I'm sorry but I really did not care for this at all. 

This is the first production of the musical have seen, although I am familiar with it. 

Thre orchestra is fantastic, as should be expected, and the Jerry Herman songs are wonderful, but for a show called Mack and Mabel, there is zero chemistry between the actors playing Mack and Mabel. 

I don't know if the character of Mack is supposed to come off as almost an anti-hero, but he does in this production and is pretty unlikeable. Mabel barely registered for me. 

The staging is just very messy.

Overall, i just didn't care about these characters as portrayed by these actors and there was an amateur feel to the whole thing that I don't usually get from Encores stagings. 

Maybe it will gel in future performances. I hope it does and wish them well. 

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#10
Posted: 2/19/20 at 5:11pm

Matt Rogers said: "I was at the invited dress and I'm sorry but I really did not care for this at all.

This is the first production of the musicalhave seen, although I am familiar with it.

Thre orchestra is fantastic, as should be expected, and the Jerry Herman songs are wonderful, but for a show called Mack and Mabel, there is zero chemistry between the actors playing Mack and Mabel.

I don't know if the character of Mack is supposed to come off as almost an anti-hero, but he does in this production and is pretty unlikeable. Mabel barely registered for me.

The staging is just very messy.

Overall, i just didn't care about these characters as portrayed by these actors and there was an amateur feel to the whole thing that I don't usually get from Encores stagings.

Maybe it will gel in future performances. I hope it does and wish them well.
"

Oh boy, it's a bummer to hear all that. This is known for having the worst book of a musical in history, and I think some of the issues you discuss with Mack and the two leads' chemistry are part of what's earned it that reputation, but it sounds like there's more amiss here than just that.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#11
Posted: 2/19/20 at 5:26pm

It is WRONG to voice negative opinion here following attendance at an invited dress, Matt Rogers. (I wasn't feeling right about saying that I felt casting a black actor for 'Fatty' Arbuckle didn't come off right - but that was an opinion that could have been derived from mere pre-show press releases.) I wish I had held-off starting the thread now. IMHO there is nothing messy or amateurish happening here. If one really sincerely 'wishes the best for a production' one doesn't write what Matt Rogers wrote following the first run-through with an audience.

Updated On: 2/19/20 at 05:26 PM
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#12
Posted: 2/19/20 at 5:55pm
“The worst book”? Really? Worse than Anyone Can Whistle, Dear World, Carrie or 50% of the musicals written in the last 5 years? (no pun intended).
"Rose in Gypsy was like going through therapy for me. Playing Rose helped me put a lot of emotions to bed. There was so much lacking in Rose and that's why she had to prove herself through her children. [interviewer]In ways that reminded you of your mom?[/interviewer]. Let's just say the role was very interesting for me. That one was the most interesting [I've ever played]" - Bernadette Peters (2018)
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#13
Posted: 2/19/20 at 6:02pm

The book really isn't that bad when you consider some of the lousy contributions that have come along since. It just doesn't have a happy ending. Neither Does Les Mis. People need to get over it.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#14
Posted: 2/19/20 at 6:04pm

forgetmenotnyc said: "It is WRONG to voice negative opinion here following attendance at an invited dress, Matt Rogers. (I wasn't feeling right about saying that I felt casting a black actor for 'Fatty' Arbuckle didn't come off right - but that was an opinion that could have been derived from mere pre-show press releases.) I wish I had held-off starting the thread now. IMHO there is nothing messy or amateurish happening here. If one really sincerely 'wishes the best for a production' one doesn't write what Matt Rogers wrote following the first run-through with an audience."

Normally I would agree with you but considering the limited number of performances in Encores productions, their invited dresses, which are full of industry insiders, seem fair game for reviews, both positive and negative. I’ve certainly seen reviews on here for the invited dress countless times in the past. I mean, the show is essentially locked. It’s not as f they are making any significant changes at this point.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#15
Posted: 2/19/20 at 6:09pm

Pashacar said: "Matt Rogers said: "I was at the invited dress and I'm sorry but I really did not care for this at all.

This is the first production of the musicalhave seen, although I am familiar with it.

Thre orchestra is fantastic, as should be expected, and the Jerry Herman songs are wonderful, but for a show called Mack and Mabel, there is zero chemistry between the actors playing Mack and Mabel.

I don't know if the character of Mack is supposed to come off as almost an anti-hero, but he does in this production and is pretty unlikeable. Mabel barely registered for me.

The staging is just very messy.

Overall, i just didn't care about these characters as portrayed by these actors and there was an amateur feel to the whole thing that I don't usually get from Encores stagings.

Maybe it will gel in future performances. I hope it does and wish them well.
"

Oh boy, it'sa bummer to hear all that. This is known for having the worst book of a musical in history, and I think some of the issues you discuss with Mack and the two leads' chemistry are part ofwhat's earned it that reputation, but it sounds like there's more amiss here than just that.
"

I imagine others on here will love it. I’m interested to hear other opinions.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#16
Posted: 2/19/20 at 7:05pm

Others here already love it before they've seen one second.  That's pretty much the way.  Mack and Mabel will never work for normal audiences - EVER.  And I don't know Josh Rhodes, but from the clips I've seen he's pretty terrible.  It looks like every other Encores production.  And like every flop with a good score, the usuals will be on here trumpeting how GREAT this "production" is and how it should move immediately.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#17
Posted: 2/19/20 at 7:43pm

Please, the book is hardly "the worst book in musical history"!

But it doesn't work and will never work unless some "revisalist" finds a way to get Mack AND Mabel AND the early history of Hollywood into the same show.

Mack isn't an anti-hero by today's standards, he's just a Type A guy with a very busy career. He is sufficiently self-aware to admit as much.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#18
Posted: 2/19/20 at 9:00pm

bk said: "Others here already love it before they've seen one second. That's pretty much the way. Mack and Mabel will never work for normal audiences - EVER. And I don't know Josh Rhodes, but from the clips I've seen he's pretty terrible. It looks like every other Encores production. And like every flop with a good score, the usuals will be on here trumpeting how GREAT this "production" is and how it should move immediately."

What do you mean by normal audiences?

 

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#19
Posted: 2/19/20 at 9:08pm

CATSNYrevival said: "bk said: "Others here already love it before they've seen one second. That's pretty much the way. Mack and Mabel will never work for normal audiences - EVER. And I don't know Josh Rhodes, but from the clips I've seen he's pretty terrible. It looks like every other Encores production. And like every flop with a good score, the usuals will be on here trumpeting how GREAT this "production" is and how it should move immediately."

What do you mean by normal audiences?


"

Audiences that aren't obsessed with flops and audiences that aren't filled with obsessive musical theater FANatics.  Hope I've been clear enough.

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#20
Posted: 2/19/20 at 10:44pm
The book isn’t perfect but it’s better than a lot of Tony nominated books over the past couple years.
"Oh look at the time, three more intelligent plays just closed and THE ADDAMS FAMILY made another million dollars" -Jackie Hoffman, Broadway.com Audience Awards
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#21
Posted: 2/20/20 at 3:44am
Had anyone actually said they love it? There has been one review so far and it’s negative lol.
"Rose in Gypsy was like going through therapy for me. Playing Rose helped me put a lot of emotions to bed. There was so much lacking in Rose and that's why she had to prove herself through her children. [interviewer]In ways that reminded you of your mom?[/interviewer]. Let's just say the role was very interesting for me. That one was the most interesting [I've ever played]" - Bernadette Peters (2018)
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#22
Posted: 2/20/20 at 4:17am

I saw it Wednesday night, had zero expectations. The ONLY thing I knew about the show was that somehow Bernadette Peters was connected to it.  I moved to NYC in 1976, so that was before I got here.  I never read programs - I just want to see what's in front of me. I don't care what the actors have done before. In the last Encores show I saw a few years ago, the actors had scripts in their hands, so that's what I expected last night. 

I was pleasantly surprised that there were no scripts. I LOVED this show. When I got home I went back and read about the original production, going from San Diego to St. Louis before coming to NYC, all the problems it had, and all I could think was that it was before it's time.  He's not that sympathetic, and she isn't, either. It's a grown up love story between two flawed but real characters. 

I didn't know where the plot was heading, so I was surprised how it ended. I immediately bought a ticket for tomorrow night because it's the only other night I could possibly see it, and I know how lucky I am to get to see this show at all.  The score is terrific, the cast is first rate. I read that the critical reaction to this show was Jerry Herman's biggest career disappointment, and I chalk that up to audiences in the 1970s not cozying up to a musical that had a few sharp edges.  But today's audiences are older, wiser, maybe more sophisticated.  

It must be hard for people who've seen it before to be objective, but I think every production should sink or swim on it's own, and you shouldn't have to know the plot or read notes in the program or have seen a prior revival to 'get' it -- it should all be in front of you on the stage.  

I'm looking forward to seeing it again tonight, but sitting closer.  I left there last night thinking, "This is why I moved to New York.  Where else would I ever get to see something this good that's only running for a few days?" 

 

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#23
Posted: 2/20/20 at 8:46am

I saw it last night from the middle of the mezzanine, Row D, right under where the overhang ends, so my seats were perfect. Is it a perfect show? No. Does it have a perfect score, orchestrations and vocals? Absolutely! My hand is raw from applauding and my tear ducts were dry by the end of the night due to the flow of joyful tears. Does the staging need improving? Definitely. There are moments of greatness in this show, and while the book isn't wretched, it is far from disaster. 

Highlights: Lilli Cooper as Lottie. She combines Lisa Kirk with a bit of Ann Miller and Eve Arden, and when she breaks into "Big Time", it is high time. "Tap Your Troubles Away" is a problem moment, certainly not because of the song, and if you see it, you will understand. I wanted the lavishness of the original production with "Hundreds of Girls" that I've seen in rare video footage and stills and thought the choreography could have been a lot stronger for one of my favorite production numbers of all time, but wasn't upset. However, the staging of "When Mabel Comes in the Room" is terrific, with the build-up that you hear on the original CD and London cast albums an emotional highlight.

Douglas Sills is a volcano on stage, and if this were to have a limited run (with improved sets and costumes), I could see him having the greatest acclaim of his already acclaimed career. I'm sure there will be mixed statements for Alexandra Socha, none horrible, but in refusing to compare her to Bernadette, I can compare her to the footage of the real Mabel that they show, and she IS Mabel. As far as I am concerned, she scored as well. It was less than a year ago that my friend and I saw the "Keystone Cops" ballet in "High Button Shoes", and they do something similar here, although not nearly as intense in choreography, but it is a delight. "Not Since Carrie" described the original production of having issues of trying to capture the magic of silent movie comedy, and that is still a minor issue, but I choose to look past that and enjoy it for what they did. I'll say this is excellent for orchestrations and the performances, good for dealing with the book issues, and just needs a tad more work on the staging should the miracle of some sort of transfer ever be considered. 

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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#24
Posted: 2/20/20 at 8:49am

bk said: "CATSNYrevival said: "bk said: "Others here already love it before they've seen one second. That's pretty much the way. Mack and Mabel will never work for normal audiences - EVER. And I don't know Josh Rhodes, but from the clips I've seen he's pretty terrible. It looks like every other Encores production. And like every flop with a good score, the usuals will be on here trumpeting how GREAT this "production" is and how it should move immediately."

What do you mean by normal audiences?


"

Audiences that aren't obsessed with flops and audiences that aren't filled with obsessive musical theater FANatics. Hope I've been clear enough.
"

Kind of weird to come to a post about an Encores production on a Broadway fan board and act disdainful and haughty toward Broadway fans, the very target audience of this program. 

"...everyone finally shut up, and the audience could enjoy the beginning of the Anatevka Pogram in peace."
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Mack & Mabel City Center Encores!#25
Posted: 2/20/20 at 10:13am

Saw it last night. Not a perfect show at all, but certainly entertaining with a great score.  Biggest problem is the book, especially how Mabel falls for Mack instantly, which I didn't understand at all.  Perhaps if Mack was cast differently and radiated "star" it would make a difference.  Alexandra's acting was remarkable as always. Enjoyed seeing Ben Fankhauser back on stage, even if he played a Newsie again for a brief moment haha.  Hope to see him on Broadway again soon.