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Perez Reviews: The Most Happy Fella

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tn 500 laurabenantishulerhensleybyjoanmarcus

Encores! is the gold standard! A class! A GUARANTEED good time!

The company, who picks often forgotten musicals and brushes them up for contemporary audiences, always puts on such quality productions! And their latest, Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella, is no exception!

The shows themselves may be flawed, but you can always count on the Encores! revival to be fun, fresh and featuring a to-notch cast!

Their The Most Happy Fella is true on all counts! We all saw Laura Benanti on NBC's The Sound Of Music, and here she gets to showcase her beautiful soprano and highlight an almost operatic quality to her voice. She delivers!

Cheyenne Jackson has a welcome return to musicals in this production.

Shuler Hensley is a revelation in the lead role!

And the supremely talented Jay Armstrong Johnson, whom we recently saw in Lincoln Center's Sweeney Todd and before that in Hands On A Hard Body, in this proves he can not just sing and act and look real pretty, but he can dance too!

There are some GREAT dance numbers in this production, choreographed AND directed by The Book Of Mormon helmer Casey Nicholaw.

The show is super enjoyable and very old-timey, but…..

If this has hopes for a Broadway transfer, the book needs to be completely revamped.

Frank Loesser had great success with Guys & Dolls and How To Succeed In Business, but The Most Happy Fella he not just wrote the music and lyrics for but also the book too!

A very funny script doctor can come in and make this production super fun for big mainstream audiences!

Great GREAT job with the current mounting as is, though!

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7 comments to “Perez Reviews: The Most Happy Fella

  1. keyth says – reply to this


    1

    For the love of god, stop with these AWFUL reviews.



  2. 2

    You are not a critic. Please stop.



  3. 3

    vvvvvvvvvvvvv

  4. Bwaymum says – reply to this


    4

    WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO MAKE YOU STOP????? STICK TO GOSSIP…

  5. Pam says – reply to this


    5

    Your suggestion that, "A very funny script doctor can come in and make this production super fun for big mainstream audiences!" is ridiculous. "The Most Happy Fella" is based upon a terrific, well-written play called, "They Knew What They Wanted." The musical mixes pathos and comedy beautifully. Turning it into some sort of gag-fest, as you suggest, would destroy this lovely show. There is more to theatre than cheap laughs.

  6. anon says – reply to this


    6

    An avid Encores-goer, I'm a bit curious about your comments regarding the book. There is very little "book" in this production as (a) the show is mostly sung-through, with not all that many spoken lines and (b) the spoken lines were dramatically cut down and edited in this production.

    Is your issue with this particular adaptation of Frank Loesser's book? Or with the story as a whole? The book is, as was noted in an earlier comment, based on a terrific, Pulitzer prize-winning 1925 play — and is, in my opinion, as beautiful a story as there is.

    I certainly agree with your comments about this production, though! And I applaud you for bringing attention to a series that produces what I believe to be some of the best theater in New York.

  7. :-/ says – reply to this


    7

    The idea of acceptance as a theme in the show is very comforting. Two people, being vulnerable, and honest after so many attempts to try and be 'perfect', finally resolve to be themselves, and find themselves happier, safer, and more honestly loved than ever. Now and again, we need to be reminded that we can be loved for who we are, if we accept ourselves and others, flaws and all. Sometimes life is scary, and we often make mistakes when we make choices instigated by fear- if we make choices and decisions with love as the impetus, it is a stronger bond, that is truly a foundation strong enough to carry us through this existences tribulations and trials. This show reminds us that despite everything- flaws, fears, frustrations- we are lovable, and deserving of love, if we can be courageous enough to accept ourselves and others. I cry every night at the moment Tony informs Roseabella that maybe they both had accidents, but they had those accidents because of fears- and they decide to put that fear aside, and when they do, life is once again a beautiful thing to cherish, instead of something to constantly fear due to the possibilities of being imperfect. I can't think of a more important message for an audience to live through, and I am truly grateful to live that moment with Shuler and Laura every night…. I'm sad you missed that.