BWW Review: JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY busts a move at TUTS!
Jerome Robbins' BROADWAY is a revue that opened in 1989 under the artistic direction of the famous choreographer himself. It's a nice overview of what he did best blending ballet, chorus boys, and gorgeous narrative lines that defined the shows he worked on. It's a love letter to Broadway and the perfect way for TUTS to put a cap on the celebration of its 50th year running. This one is a no-brainer for musical fans who want to see definitive works from an American dance legend.
This show is like getting eleven musicals for the price of one as the numbers span Jerome Robbins' career from 1944 until 1964. Things start off with his first big show ON THE TOWN which was inspired from a ballet piece Jerome developed which led him to create the musical. The conceit was dancing sailors on leave in NYC during WWII. From there we go through BILLION DOLLAR BABY, HIGH BUTTON SHOES, WEST SIDE STORY, THE KING AND I, GYPSY, PETER PAN, MISS LIBERTY, CALL ME MADAM, and climaxing with FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. It's an interesting mix of well known pieces and obscure ones, and offers up numbers from each that showcase the dancing over any singing. This is about leaping, hoofing, and of course... flying!
Overall the dancing is precise and well executed from the entire ensemble. They switch modes to keep up with the demands of the styles of each piece, and somehow make it all look seamless. There wasn't a hiccup at any moment in regards to the performance and execution. This is a dance lover's dream! It's hard to pick out performers in a show like this with 47 dancers on the stage at any given moment and many of them doing double duty in roles across the entire running time. But there are a few standouts I was drawn to in many numbers. Gabriella Enriquez made for an impressive passionate Anita in THE WEST SIDE STORY sequences. All of the lead Three Sailors in the first ON THE TOWN sequence are amazingly good including Tyler Hanes, Connor McRory, and Jordan Beall. They all bookend the show with their athletic and fun routines. Akina Kitazawa does marvelous work as Eliza in THE KING AND I portion of the show. Teresa Zimmermann, Kristin Warren, and Anne Brummel almost steal the entire evening with their crowd-pleasing rendition of "You Gotta Have a Gimmick" from GYPSY. Sarah Marie Jenkins also does a fun job of updating the Peter Pan role.
Ryan McGettigan's scenic design is just enough to add some razzle dazzle to the environment of each piece. He somehow manages to create 11 different setting to great effect. Equally amazing is the job Colleen Grady has with outfitting all of the company in the specific wardrobes for each era and place. Jason Lyons also adds effective lighting to accompany everything else. Technically TUTS is at the top of their game with this one. Director Cynthia Onrubia seems to know her Jerome Robbins all too well, and she masterminds this one effectively.
Jerome Robbins' BROADWAY pays tribute to a brilliant choreographer and becomes a testament to the enduring history of great Broadway shows. If you love musical theater this one will be right up your alley, and if you love dance it is even better. It's just darned impressive to see all of this together in one night. It makes you realize how special a talent Robbins was - how he could work in any style or genre and make it work. What's better is you realize how masterful he was at simply telling a story. And that is what makes great theater. TUTS has done right by this piece, and it's well worth your time.
Photo Credit: Erick Velazquez.