Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Book and lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Based on an idea by Jerome Robbins
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Jonathan Goldberg
(kick-ass) Choreography & musical staging by Ilyse Robbins
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston) On the Town is a sweet little musical about what happens when three horny US Navy men seeking adventure visit NYC for 24 hours. As the plot thickens, they meet their equally horny female counterparts, do some healthy snogging, see some sights and return to duty. It’s mostly romantic. The Lyric Stage delicately wraps these adult themes in saccharine sweet nostalgia, excellent choreography and Bernstein’s music. Although this could be for mature audiences only, it is presented as tasteful family-friendly material.
This is a solid show; it’s classic musical theater with plenty of silly hilarity to brighten the false Spring frowny faces of almost everyone. Ilyse Robbins’ choreography is snappy and smart. The cast is almost uniformly talented and charismatic. They look like Mad Men the musical (can you imagine Don Draper in tap shoes? Brilliant!). On The Town is a pleasant distraction, a good time that doesn’t require any deep thinking – unless one is attempting to analyze Bernstein’s score.
Bernstein is the real draw. His music is both entertaining and involved. This is his first musical and it’s just lovely. Although not as memorable as Wonderful Town, West Side Story, or even Peter Pan, the vocals and instrumentals are catchy and sophisticated.
I suggest attempting to get a seat down front on any side of the stage. The Lyric is a strange space and the energy of the delightful cast can get sucked into the floors and ceiling (through no fault of the cast or the crew). You’ll be glad you did especially since there is bit of friendly audience/cast interaction. If an unbroken 4th wall is a must for your production viewing, then sit in the back.