Richard and I saw this musical on Broadway on 11/8. Richard had been a fan since he did the show in summer stock in rural Pennsylvania in the mid-70s. I didn't know the show at all, but have been hearing Richard sing the songs for the last nine and a half years, so I was curious to see what the show was like.
The show is a spoof of the *Gold Diggers* movies from the 1930s. It premiered at a teeny tiny theater off Broadway in 1966, starring young unknown Bernadette Peters as Ruby. This is the first time the show has been done on Broadway. It's being done at the Helen Hayes Theater, which is the smallest theater on Broadway (it has only 597 seats). I wonder if the show is too small even for this comparatively small stage - - the show is perfect for summer stock and high school theaters, it loses a little oomph when done on a large stage for a large audience.
The songs are adorable, they perfectly capture the wit and corniness of the period. The strongest performance was by Lesli Margherita as grande dame Mona Kent (that's her on the left). She deservedly stopped the show with her torch song, "That Mister of Mine". She really knows how to pour it on, she was hilarious.
Sadly the weakest performance in the show was by Eloise Kropp as Ruby. She's cute and is a powerhouse tap dancer, but she is not a good singer. She has seven songs, so that's a bit of a problem. As I said to Richard, the whole point of being a triple threat (acting, singing, dancing) is that you can do all three things well. I imagine there must be at least a thousand young women out there who would do a better job in this role. I am mystified.
But perhaps the most memorable performance was by the little boy sitting three rows ahead of us. There were probably about ten little kids (under 10) in the balcony, Richard thought maybe "the house was papered", as the insiders like to say (tickets were given away or sold at a significant discount). This one particular little boy was about three or four years old and bounced up and down incessantly whenever there was tap dancing onstage, which was about one third of the show. He was equal parts adorable and annoying. Bless his heart.