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Review: NEW GIRL IN TOWN at 42nd Street Moon

Based on playwright Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie, Bob Merrill and George Abbott's New Girl in Town is a romance mixed with near-tragedy. Its title character's foggy past sets the ground for a beautiful story of redemption and hope, but vaudeville-style humor and dance still feel perfectly at home in this masterpiece of musical theatre. The unexpected treasure plays at 42nd Street Moon through April 16.

After years away, Anna visits her estranged father, a Swedish immigrant and the captain of a sea barge. Chris Vettel is bittersweet as the older man who ignorantly believes he saved Anna from a cruel life when he sent her away as a child. Vettel evokes a number of striking emotions as he fondly sings of his "Anna Lilla." But Anna's life has made her cautious of men and has given her a guarded, cynical personality - that is, until rescued sailor (the impassioned Joshua Marx) presents her with a reason to believe she can love again. Allison F. Rich commands the stage in every show she does, but she is particularly bold and sensitively exposed in the title role.

Each character arc is incredibly well written considering the short 90-minute run time (without intermission). Even the comedic side roles receive a well-deserved and all-together fun conclusion. Judith Miller engages and delights as Marthy, a "friend" of Anna's father who laments her flings and becomes drunk in entertaining manners.

The creative team at 42nd Street Moon hits the mark with this production, as well, with a complete and adaptable set designed by Mark Mendelson, atmospheric lighting by Ryan Weible, lovely period costumes from Bethany Deal, wonderful choreography from Kelly Cooper, and great music on the piano by Dave Dobrusky.


42nd St Moon
at the Eureka Theatre
through April 16

Photo by Ben Krantz Studio

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