I was so excited to hear that “New York, New York,” with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, was coming to Broadway and playing at the St. James Theatre (W. 44th Street). It was billed as a new musical, so I expected to be dazzled, but as I sat through the mediocre, cheesy production, I felt not only disappointment, but boredom.
Written by David Thompson, co-written by Sharon Washington, with additional lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the story is all over the place. Scenes do not flow smoothly and the characters and storyline do not have enough development to make you care.
There are no showstopper numbers except for the signature, final song—the performance of “New York, New York” by Anna Uzele, a Black actress who is cast in one of the lead roles as Francine, a singer who has come to make it big in New York City. Uzele demonstrates throughout the production that she has a wonderful voice, but really takes it home at the end.
I’m sorry, but a musical called “New York, New York,” performed in New York, should have been a showstopper throughout. The production highlights many other characters, but nothing is done with much depth, and both lines and scenes are corny and predictable at best.
While I found myself impatiently getting through the show, I did enjoy the choreography by Susan Stroman, who is also the director. The male lead, Jimmy, is played by Colton Ryan, who gives an adequate performance. Performers like John Clay III put their best vocal feet forward, but again, the material is very dull, sometimes nonsensical, and definitely uneventful.
Other featured performers included Clyde Alves, Janet Dacal, Ben Davis, Oliver Prose, Angela Sigola, and Emily Skinner.
Although I did not find myself applauding very much, I did enjoy the vibrant, colorful period costumes by Donna Zakowska and elaborate, detailed, creative scenic design by Beowulf Boritt. But I really can’t say much more about this show.
“New York, New York” is not so nice; I wouldn’t say it twice.
For more info, visit www.newyorknewyorkbroadway.com.