Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Music In The Air

"Music In The Air" presented by Encores! at New York City Center, February 7, 2009

(photo: Joan Marcus)

With music by Jerome Kern, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, this is a lovely piece that straddles the line between operetta and musical comedy. There are so many moments that foretell of the brilliance to come in future Hammerstein shows. There's a bit of design brilliance already present with the use of diegetic music throughout. From the playbill, Rob Berman describes this as "...meaning that when the characters sing, it is because they are actually singing in the reality of the story."

We also get a preview of a technique Mr. Hammerstein used so beautifully later in "Carousel" where the dialogue is rhymed and spoken in meter.

Kristin Chenoweth is back at the top of her form as the reigning Prima Donna, Frieda Hatzfield. Douglas Sills does his best to keep up, and occasionally gets there as Bruno Mahler, the playwright. Sierra Boggess was lovely as Sieglinde, the ingenue.

Mr. Berman kept close attention to the score and led a thoroughly enjoyable evening. It's this type of show that make Encores! worthwhile.

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