Bullets Over Broadway – Pantages Theater Jan. 5, 2016

Woody Allen is one prolific dude, I am sure he would take offense to me calling him a dude, but it’s with love and respect that I give him that title. I grew up with Woody Allen movies and being a nice Jewish girl it was sort of a gauge with a new boy if he liked Woody Allen he was in, if not, no dates for him with me. You just have to get Woody’s humor, and if you don’t, Jewish or not, your not going to rate high in my world. If you happen to be Jewish like Woody and Mel Brooks then there will always be some dialog in Yiddish that you just get. With that being said Woody Allen was a natural for Broadway, especially this show.

On screen sometimes you miss the little nuances that you would catch from a live show. The facial expressions, the jokes, the small but fantastic punch lines are much more apparent when its being acted out right in front of you.

Woody Allen has written a movie, a year for the last 50 years, really doesn’t he ever get tired? Quentin Taratino has only written 8 movies his whole career.Woody was born in Brooklyn NY in 1935, his real name is Allan Stewart Konigsberg, very appropriate for the guy who never sleeps. He loves everything New York and most of his films depict that and Bullets Over Broadway is no exception. Instead of stories about people’s lives and neurotic behavior, he has taken a time period about Broadway and made it his own fantastical story.

Bullets over Broadway is written in Woody Allen fashion. You got dames, some smart some not so much, gangsters, writers, starlets each entwined with their own witty repartee, and delicious spiraling out of control stories. Bullets over Broadway was originally a movie based in 1994, but smartly reinvented into a Broadway musical with the screenplay written by Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath. It was Allen’s sister, Letty Aronson, who urged the filmmaker to adapt it for the stage.

Brilliant choreography by Susan Stroman, (the dazzling talent behind the Broadway blitz “The Producers”), the dancing was one of the highlights of the show. Jeff Whiting and Clare Cook have taken over the direction and choreography, respectively. The original productions premiered on Broadway last season at The St. James on April 10, 2014. The production received 6 Tony Award nominations, including Best Book of a Musical and Best Choreography.

The score is a collection of popular songs from around the 1920s, when the story is set. A few are well known standards; “Let’s Misbehave”, “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle”, others not too recognizable. Glen Kelly is credited with the arrangements as well as the clever additional lyrics that patch over narrative gaps. For me bringing back those old standards are nice but I would rather focus on the charms of this high energy, well-executed touring show, the choreography, the costumes and the performances, really got my attention.

The cast: Rachel Bahler – Eden, Michael Corvino – Nick Valenti, Jeffrey Brooks – Cheech, Hannah Rose Deflumeri – Ellen, Rick Grossman – Julian Marx, Jemma Jane – Olive Neal, Emma Stratton – Helen Sinclair, Michael Williams – David Shayne, Bradley Allan Zarr – Warner Purcell, Dance Captain.The ensemble did their part and were equally amazing. My favorite performances were by Michael Williams and Jeffrey Brooks. Michael Williams is a very physical actor with great comedic timing and Jeffrey Brooks turned his character into a mysterious sexy villain, which everyone wanted to get to know more about. The other cast members were terrific as well, but to me those two stole the show.

I just love the Pantages Theater, with its ornate interior; it is all about old Hollywood. I am always amazed when I look at the brilliant details of the auditorium. This landmark theater is celebrating 85 years of History in Hollywood.

Run don’t walk to see this spectacular romp into mobsters and showgirls, at The Pantages Theater, it ends on Jan. 24, 2016.

The Pantages Theater
6233 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028



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