Saturday, June 09, 2012

"Nice Work If You Can Get It"

Though street smarts help in this world, being rich and good-looking is usually more than enough to get by.  So says (in so many words) Matthew Broderick's character, Jimmy Winter, in the new musical at the Imperial, "Nice Work If You Can Get It."

That wisdom could also apply to Broadway musicals.   "Nice Work..," was, in a way, born with a silver spoon in its mouth:  when you start with the songs of Ira and George Gershwin as the foundation of a new production, it's hard to go too far wrong.  Add a clever book by Joe diPietro (based on some earlier work by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton) and creative contributions from the team that gave us the wonderful revival of "Anything Goes" and you've got a good chance at a pretty good-looking (and plain old good) show.

In fact, if you loved "Anything Goes" (and I did), you're probably going to at least like "Nice Work..."  Both are old-fashioned Broadway musicals: great songs, broad, silly plots, witty dialogue, handsome boys, beautiful girls, a couple of tap numbers...  It's escapist theater at its zenith.

The story of "Nice Work..." is a pretty simple one:  Jimmy Winter is an heir to some very old money, and about to be married for the fourth time.  Until, that is, the sparkling bootlegger Billy Bendix (the radiant Kelli O'Hara) enters his life.  But before they can be united, there will be misunderstandings, mischief, mistaken identities and shocking (sort of) revelations.

I won't say "Nice Work..." is a perfect show, but it's sort of like one of those memory foam mattresses - it cradles you in comfort until you're ready to start a new day.  And maybe even leave you filling a little richer and a little better-looking.

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