“Some Like It Hot”—playing at the Sam S. Shubert Theatre on W. 44th Street—heats up the theater with some of the most stupendous, showstopping singing, funny musical numbers and toe-tappingly terrific choreography you could ever experience in a Broadway house. Based on the MGM movie of the same name, it has a marvelous book by Matthew Lopez and Amber Ruffin, stunning music by Marc Shaiman, and entertaining lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Sitting in the theater, you know from the first number—“What Are You Thirsty For?”—that your answer will be More!
The musical tells the story of two out-of-work musicians in Chicago in 1933 named Joe and Jerry. These men get a job at a joint run by a gangster and witness him commit murder. Running for their lives, they disguise themselves as women and join an all-women band, managed by Sweet Sue, with the aptly named Sugar Cane as its singer.
Every aspect of this musical is absolutely delightful. The tap-dancing numbers are off-the-charts as is the brilliant, dynamic work of the musical’s director Casey Nicholaw. “Some Like It Hot” is a laugh out-loud, sway in your seat, tap your feet, feel-good musical that will have you thirsting for more tantalizing tap, phenomenal harmonies and musical hijinks.
This musical features a cast that is not only superbly talented, but seems to be having such a good time on stage. Their energy is contagious. J. Harrison Ghee stars as Jerry, who transforms into Daphne to survive, and he is absolutely the cat’s meow. Ghee can tap dance his a** off and has a wonderful singing voice.
At the performance I attended, Christian Borle was not on hand to play Joe/Josephine; instead, I saw the understudy K.J. Hippensteel and he was fabulous!
Adrianna Hicks is originating the role of Sugar Cane on Broadway and they could not have picked anyone better. This young actress is a talent beyond words—anyone who saw her in the original cast of “SIX” as Catherine of Aragon can attest to that. As Sugar, she set that theater on fire. Her singing took the audiences to peaks of splendor that are hard to imagine. She hits every note with such power and brilliance, you just found yourself poised to burst into unbridled applause and shouts of praise as she was about to complete that final, glorious note and we did.
Natasha Yvette Williams is commanding, funny and perfect as Sweet Sue, the woman who knows how to help people have a good time and has the vision to form an all-female band in the 1930s with Black and white women working together. Williams is a force to be reckoned with on that stage and a complete pleasure to watch. But, of course that’s no surprise to anyone familiar with this incredibly talented actress’s work, including “Tina,” “Chicken and Biscuits,” “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” and “The Color Purple,” to name a few.
Kevin Del Aguila as Osgood, a millionaire hotel owner looking for love, is positively charming. Angie Schworer as Minnie, Sweet Sue’s business partner and best friend, has great comedic timing. Mark Lotito as Spats the gangster is quite humorous, as is Adam Heller as Mulligan, the police officer who’s after Spats.
This musical has a nostalgic element to it, in terms of the cute innocence of the comedic hijinks. The stage is filled with some of the most incredible talent; the ensemble members are phenomenal tap dancers and singers who don’t miss a beat or a step.
This musical is pure gold and has a message that sets the spirit free. You will want to experience it again and again. “Some Like It Hot” also has some stunningly beautiful costumes by Gregg Barnes; detailed, lovely sets by Scott Pask; lighting by Natasha Katz; and sound by Brian Ronan. Do make plans to go and see for yourself why “Some Like It Hot”! For more info, visit www.somelikeithotmusical.com.