Entertainment

Nice Work If You Can Get It

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday Oct 30, 2012
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The timeless music of George and Ira Gershwin has inspired the creation of a "new musical comedy" titled, "Nice Work If You Can Get It." The increasingly prolific writer Joe DiPietro ("Memphis," "I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change") has collaborated with Tony Award winning director/choreographer Kathleen Marshall ("Anything Goes") and orchestrators David Chase and Bill Elliott to create an entertaining piece of theater that features many of the Gershwins’ music, while striving to appeal to 21st century audiences.

The cast recording for "Nice Work..." has been released by Shout! Factory, and stars the original cast of Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara as a playboy and a bootlegger who inadvertently fall in love with each other. The performers also include Jennifer Laura Thompson ("Urinetown"), Michael McGrath ("Spamalot," "My Favorite Year") and two classic damsels, Judy Kaye and Estelle Parsons.

The setlist on this recording stays fairly conservative in its selection of the Gershwins’ songs. Broderick adds to his increasing number of leading-man-who-never-takes-himself-too-seriously roles (see his performances in "The Producers" and the pre-Daniel Radcliffe revival of "How To Succeed...") as Jimmy, who is planning to get married for the fourth time, and this time to someone "who hasn’t been arrested." He delivers palpable solo versions of "Sweet and Lowdown," "Do-Do-Do," and the title track, backed by the reliable, Gershwin-era arrangements of Chase and Elliott. O’Hara ("Light in the Piazza") plays Billie, the bootlegger, who begrudgingly falls for the suave Broderick (though it is questionable how much longer the "Ferris Bueller" actor will be able to get away with these "stud" roles). Her rendition of the overdone "Someone To Watch Over Me" is (thankfully) refreshing, and she more than holds her own in her duets with Jimmy ("S’Wonderful" and "Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off").

This production has been sanctioned by the Gershwin estate, and the 32-page booklet contains liner notes from DiPietro, Chase, Elliott and Marshall, providing a variety of perspectives on the creative process that went into making this musical. Chase’s comments are particular noteworthy, as his knowledge of not only George Gershwin’s vocal melodies, but also his classical works, is extensive.

"Nice Work If You Can Get It"
Original Broadway Cast Recording
CD and Digital formats
Shout! Factory

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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