Bergasse's routines, even at their most irresistibly dizzy, reflect Robbins' emphasis on storytelling and expression of character. This is especially crucial in the ballet sequences, showcases for Fairchild - and the hyper-talented Tony Yazbeck, who plays Gabey - that grow darker and more emotionally rich as the production spins toward its surprisingly unsettling, riveting climax and bittersweet conclusion. Beowulf Boritt's playful, imaginative scenic and projection design and Jason Lyons' vivid lighting deserve mention as well. The New York they create is mythical and old-fashioned but, like the flawed, yearning characters who sometimes wander among us, strangely familiar and accessible. Great musical theater doesn't require total escapism, after all, any more than unconditional happy endings.