I saw *On A Clear Day You Can See Forever* at the Irish Repertory Theatre on 9/2/18. I saw the movie years ago, and even though it starred Barbra Streisand and Yves Montand and was directed by Vincent Minnelli, it was so damn awful. But the title song is so beautiful, and this production was starring Melissa Errico, who I’ve been wanting to see in a show for a while. She did *Finian’s Rainbow* at the Irish Rep a couple years ago, and did an interview in the Times entitles, “I’m 46, Is That Too Old To Play the Ingenue?” Ha! But really, why does the character have to be 30-ish? Why can’t she be 50-ish?
The show was written by Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Burton Lane (music) and had its Broadway premiere in 1965, starring the recently deceased Barbara Harris. It’s a peculiar show, about ESP and reincarnation. I felt the effort of the creators to keep the tone light with such potentially heavy and/or dull topics. The music helps quite a lot, it’s a gorgeous score.
The show opened with the chorus singing the title song in what sounded like eight parts. Ravishingly beautiful, and I was in tears, not even five minutes into the show. The rest of the show was very professionally done, but sadly this was the high point.
Errico was charming in her dual role. I felt like some of the keys could have been moved up a whole step or a third, they felt a little low for her. Ben Davis was fantastic in the male lead, the doctor who puts her under hypnosis. He’s very handsome and charismatic and has a gorgeous voice.
A quick shout-out to two members of the ensemble, who each played supporting roles: John Cudia has a background as an operatic tenor and you could hear that in his song. He has a strong voice and an easy top and held the final note of his song for a long, long time. Why not? It was a real joy to see Florrie Bagel again. Don’t you love that name? She had the Kaye Ballard role in *The Golden Apple* at Encores! a couple years ago, and she’s a delight. Beautiful voice, sock-‘em stage presence, she should be getting more work, people!
One of the treats of this production was seeing a musical with no amplification. But still, with so many show-stopping numbers where the singer ends the song singing real loud with arms spread out, it felt a bit like the show was too big for such a small space. Just a bit.
As you know, I’m crazy for the title song. A lovely, poetic idea, but it’s not really true, right? Still, the title “On A Clear Day, Depending On Where You’re Standing, You Can See Quite A Distance” doesn’t really have the same punch.
I’m going to share three great versions of the song. First, the divine Andy Williams and the equally divine Nancy Wilson. They sound dreamy together.
Next. a groovy, droopy version by The Peddlers, which was used on *Breaking Bad*:
And finally, the one and only (thank God) Shirley Bassey. Her zero gravity arms crack me up.