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PAL JOEY BROADWAY REVIEWS
Opening Night: December 31, 1969
Synopsis: A small-time (and scheming) Chicago entertainer puts the moves on a society dame and a "mouse" from the chorus. The Rodgers & Hart score includes "Bewitched," "I Could Write a Book" and several nightclub specialties.
NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW:
"How did a racy little ditty about girl-chasing turn into a dirge? In Joe Mantello's joyless revival of "Pal Joey," the Rogers and Hart classic from 1940, the amoral title character performs "Happy Hunting Horn," a number about the pursuit of the skirt, with all the glee and cockiness of a man who hears not a tooting horn but a tolling bell."
"Broadway has been waiting a long time for a major revival of "Pal Joey," the most sophisticated musical to ever get lost in mid-century Americana. But despite a smart creative team and game performances from Stockard Channing and the ever-more-surprising Martha Plimpton, the Roundabout Theatre Company production that opened last night at Studio 54 seems more like grown-ups playing dress-up than gritty and cynically delicious pulp fiction."
"For the past month, Broadway has experienced much craziness with the Roundabout’s ill-fated revisal of the 1940 landmark Rodgers & Hart musical “Pal Joey,” one of the first truly dark, sexualized musicals with an antihero at its center."
"The Rodgers and Hart songs in “Pal Joey” are certainly easy on the ear, but what makes the Roundabout revival of their 1940 show so compelling is Richard Greenberg’s trenchant adaptation of the original book by John O’Hara. Erasing the sanitizing stamp of musical-theater coyness, Greenberg brings a fascinating melancholy grubbiness to this cynical story of sordid emotional transactions and opportunistic behavior in late-1930s Chicago. It’s a dark show for desperate times, with enough dramatic meat on its bones to work even as a nonmusical play. And like “Cabaret” a few years back, it seems right at home in the decadent former playpen of Studio 54."
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