Can-Can OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Jerry Dalia
  • NY TIMES

  • TM

  • NJ.COM

  • NORTH JERSEY

  • BROADWAY WORLD

Opening Night:
October 5, 2014
Closing:
October 26, 2014

Theater: Paper Mill Playhouse / Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ, 07041

Synopsis: 

A brand new production of Cole Porter's classic musical starring Kate Baldwin and Jason Danieley. Pistache, a Parisian cafe owner, decides to feature the scandalous dance, the Can-Can. But will her defiance of the law end her business, and her love life? This fresh new production features a re-crafted script by the legendary David Lee (Frasier) and Joel Fields (Ugly Betty). With show-stopping choreography by Patti Colombo (Seven Brides For Seven Brothers).

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Can-Can

    Beyond Frilly Derrières, a Couple of Romances

    Charles Isherwood

    October 14, 2014: Frothy skirts spin like pinwheels, black-stockinged legs fly skyward, and ruffled derrières are flashed with piquant frequency in the revival of the 1953 musical Can-Can at the Paper Mill Playhouse here. We are back in Paris during the decadent Belle Époque, when the demimonde thrived and Montmartre teemed with loose ladies and louche artistes. Ooh la laaaaaah. Sorry — that old-fashioned French exclamation inadvertently became a yawn. Naughtiness ain’t what it used to be, I’m afraid. The production, directed by David Lee, a television veteran (Frasier, Cheers) who has rewritten the original book by Abe Burrows with another television writer, Joel Fields (of the FX series The Americans), features a Broadway-caliber cast. The luminous Kate Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow, Big Fish) plays La Mome Pistache, the proprietress of the sizzling nightspot where much of the action takes place, and Jason Danieley (The Full Monty, Curtains), in virile voice, portrays the judge who loves her but tosses her in the clink anyway. And yet despite the energetic efforts of the cast and creative team, which includes spirited contributions from the choreographer Patti Colombo, this hard-working production cannot overcome the material’s fundamental problems: a Cole Porter score that’s distinctly second tier, and a labored plot trimmed in stereotypes of gay Paree that have not exactly aged with the grace of a classic Bordeaux.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF Can-Can

    Parisian dance halls of the 1890s get a makeover for this revamped Cole Porter revival at Paper Mill Playhouse

    Hayley Levitt

    October 8, 2014: "Money spent on pleasure is never a waste," says La Mome Pistache, our bawdy dance hall hostess from Montmartre. This air of unapologetic gaiety is precisely what breathes such joyful life into Paper Mill Playhouse's indulgent revival of Can-Can — a production with its eyes on a Broadway run later this season. Broadway vets Jason Danieley and Kate Baldwin lead an extraordinary company of dancers and musical-theater hams as the rules-obsessed Judge Aristide Forestier and his former love from the other side of the tracks, Pistache (known in her younger days as Mathilde). The classic Cole Porter score, featuring a roster of numbers ranging from the sultry "I Love Paris" to the comic "Every Man Is a Stupid Man," could not have found two more beautiful voices to pick up the old chestnut. Despite a dated premise, the piece has significantly fewer cobwebs thanks to book writer and director David Lee and his coauthor Joel Fields, who have revamped Abe Burrows' original work.

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  • NJ.COM REVIEW OF Can-Can

    'Can-Can' opens at the Paper Mill Playhouse

    Ronni Reich

    October 7, 2014: Forget the Moulin Rouge. If you could travel back in time to fin-de-siècle Montmartre, you'd want to visit the Bal du Paradis. Sure, it's a fictional dance hall, but at the Paper Mill Playhouse, it lives on vivaciously in Cole Porter's Can-Can, which is now opening the season. Directed by David Lee, who has revised the musical's Abe Burrows book in collaboration with Joel Fields, the production comes across as eager to please, complete with audience participation - and it consistently does, in spite of source material as fluffy as its dancers' skirts. The show has the alluring melody "I Love Paris" and a gleeful take on bohemian life in "Never, Never Be an Artist." The title song, with all its rhymes, is classically clever Porter. Others can feel like filler, though, vague or awkward. The formulaic story outline deals with a man and woman who find themselves on different sides of the law - Aristide Forestier (Jason Danieley) is a judge, La Mome Pistache (Kate Baldwin) deals in illegal entertainment. But, naturally, those opposites attract.

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  • NORTHJERSEY.COM REVIEW OF Can-Can

    Can-Can by Cole Porter, with book by Abe Burrows, revised by Joel Fields and David Lee

    Jim Beckerman

    October 7, 2014: Can-Can, at the Paper Mill Playhouse, is what it probably always was: pure Champagne. Sober theatergoers who want depth — or what passes for it — in musicals can go see Les Miz. The 1953 musical Can-Can, about wicked Paris in the gay Nineties, is all froth, as any show by Cole Porter set in Paris (and he wrote a lot of them: Paris, Les Girls, Fifty Million Frenchmen) is bound to be. This cheerful revival, which comes to the Paper Mill by way of the Pasadena Playhouse en route to Broadway, is not much the worse for having a lightweight — rewritten — book. Nor is it much the worse for a somewhat uneven score — not, on the whole, one of Porter's strongest, although individual tunes ("I Love Paris," "It's All Right With Me") remain among his knockouts. Which is merely to say that Cole Porter, perhaps the greatest of American Songbook writers, has spoiled us: They can't all be Night and Day. No matter. Strong voices, supple dancing, good comedy "business" in the right places, good swordplay in unexpected places, exceptional scenic design by Rob Bissinger, colorful and vivid costumes by Ann Hould-Ward and inventive direction by David Lee provide enough fizz and fun to make for a happy evening. Talent, like Champagne, can take the edge off anything. The witty staging begins even before the show does — with conductor Steve Orich, in the vigorous overture, conducting a pit full of cardboard musicians, based on what look like Daumier engravings.

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  • BROADWAY WORLD REVIEW OF Can-Can

    CAN-CAN at Paper Mill is Beyond Spectacular

    Marina Kennedy

    October 8, 2014: C'est vrai!! It's true. You can now see the fantastic Broadway bound production of Can-Can at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn through October 26th. This presentation is the total package. While maintaining the tenor of the original show, this all-new revival of Can-Can has been carefully polished; a fresh, fun musical full of romance, scandal and humor in perfect measure. Pistache, a Parisian cafe owner, decides to feature a risque dance, the Can-Can, in her club. But her defiance of the law could end both her business and her love life. Set in the Monmartre district of Paris in 1893, Can-Can was first performed on Broadway in 1953 and also had a 1960 film version. Paper Mill's production of Can-Can features a book by Abe Burrows and a revised script by Joel Fields and David Lee. David Lee's direction is energetic and exciting; the show has a whole new life. Steve Orich provides the arrangements, orchestrations and musical direction that perfectly complement Lee's artistic vision.

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