Richard, Susan, Karen, Herb, and I saw this musical at City Center Encores on 5/11.  It's from 1965, music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.  I seem to remember some story about Sondheim making a deathbed promise to his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II, that he would write a show with Rodgers.  Rodgers and Sondheim both wrote about how unpleasant the collaboration was, and it shows.  The show is a real dud.

 

It's an adaptation of the Arthur Laurents play *The Time of the Cuckoo*.  It's about an American single woman in her 40s or early 50s who goes on vacation in Venice.  She meets a handsome Italian, they sniff around each other for a while, and she discovers that he's married, and has quite a few children.  She brushes him off but is drawn back to him.  Basically the whole point of the story is will she or won't she?  After all that, she doesn't.

 

The play was also the source for the movie *Summertime* with Katharine Hepburn and Rosanno Brazzi.  I love that movie: the two leads are marvelous, it was filmed on location in Venice, and it's directed by David Lean.  But what's warm and charming in the movie comes across as not just dated in the musical, it's stupid.  I can't imagine it worked well in 1965, we simply don't care.

 

There are a few nice songs, but they sound suspiciously like other (better) Rodgers songs - - like the title song is a dead ringer for "Ten minutes ago", the waltz from *Cinderella*.  The performances were generally good.  Melissa Errico was the lead - - she has a warm presence and a good sense of the style, but there's a little too much flutter in her flute.  Richard Troxell was the Italian - - his background is in opera, and he knows how to ladle out the Italianita, but non troppo.  Karen Ziemba gave the most satisfying performance as the woman who runs the pensione.  She knows what she's doing.

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