Short & Sweet critic enjoys humor in 'Bullets over Broadway'

 
Provided by Broadway in Chicago | Video production by Tribeca Flashpoint College
Posted4/22/2016 4:51 PM
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Hilarity ensues when a playwright has to cast the girlfriend of the mobster who finances the production of his new play. "I think Dave was probably my favorite character. He was just really funny and quirky," said reader critic Phillip Nardi of Elmhurst. Nardi added that the facial expressions (from actor Michael Williams) were especially impressive.

Review by Diana Martinez of Broadway in Chicago

The opening night cast of "Bullets Over Broadway" delivered the songs, music, amazing dance and energetic ensemble needed to create a classic Broadway musical comedy.

It feels a little like a stylized mash up of "Guys and Dolls" meets "The Producers" with a dash of "42nd Street" characters in a new storyline with fabulous dancing.

This wiseguys tale is funny and fast-paced, with gorgeous visual stage pictures pulled together by exceptional choreography originally created by the brilliantly creative Susan Stroman (The Producers, Steel Pier).

The attention to detail with lighting transitions, accented by stunning costumes highlighting each dance step by designer William Ivey Long, keeps the audience visually delighted and riveted.

The crux of this story set in the 1920s is a promising playwright, David Shayne (Michael Williams) who is offered the financing to produce his play on Broadway by a trigger-happy mob boss with a wannabe Broadway-star girlfriend. Of course she has to have a part in the show and yes, she is talentless -- and thus the story begins.

The twist in the plot is when Cheech, the mobster assigned to protect the mob doll at rehearsals, starts to have opinions on how the play should be rewritten and the pressure is on the playwright to navigate these zany characters.

The music is easy to like because it features standards like "Let's Misbehave," "I'm Sitting on Top of the World," "Runnin' Wild," and "Up a Lazy River" as well as a few new power ballads. Somehow, they even throw in "We Have No Bananas Today" (which is a bit of an odd choice) but it wraps up the entire cast in a zany big finale.

Jeff Brooks in the role of Cheech, and the ensemble of wiseguys, brought the showstopper of the night in an edge-of-your-seat tap number, "Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do."

Brooks steals the show with ease and is likable because he exudes strength and confidence with an understated sarcasm, sharp comic timing and a gorgeous baritone voice.

The entire ensemble of dancers deserves kudos -- they are truly an amazing gang of first-rate tireless hoofers who master a challenging variety of spectacular eye-popping dance numbers. In short, these over-the-top characters, funny/punny one-liners, great music and brilliant dancing all add up to a great night out.

"Bullets Over Broadway" is a fantastic date night show and runs through May 1 at The Private Bank Theatre (formerly the Bank of America Theatre). The show runs two hours and 30 minutes with an intermission.

Thanks for reading and hope to see you at the theater soon!

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