Wanderluster Reviews: New York, New York The Musical

 “All It Takes is a Little Balance, a lotta daring, and a leap of faith” Tommy, New York New York

New York, New York

Hello friends! Tony Season is in full swing and I have been taking in ALL the Broadway shows. One of the most unexpected shows and perhaps one of my favorites of the season is New York, New York. Nominated for 9 Tony’s it was definitely an unexpected joy and it invoked ALL the feelings. I haven’t bawled at a show like this in years, and friends let me tell you, I BAWLED! It was so heartfelt and so meaningful. I know it has gotten mixed reviews, but as a New Yorker, and after everything this city has gone through the last couple years, it just hits all the feels for me.

What it is about

If you can make it here you can make it anywhere, is a sentiment that most New Yorkers can relate to and which this show is based off. Yes, it uses Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York, as well as a couple other classics, but the tag line truly is about succeeding and persevering in New York. Based in 1946 after the war, it not only follows a group of mismatched New York transplants and natives who are just trying to make it, and through serendipitous moments, happen to meet each other. It also goes through all the seasons that New York has beginning in the summer of 1946, and ending in the Sumer of 1947.

It blends truly iconic New York moments, like Manhattenege, the iconic picture of New York City window washers on steele beams, Christmas in the city, and of course the neighborhoods with everyone sitting on their fire escapes hanging out, with themes of grief, love, abuse, addiction, and most importantly hope. Hope to never give up, whether it is the proverbial New York dream, or just hope in general. In many ways, this feels like an old school musical of the days when Roger’s and Hammerstein ran supreme with classical hits, big band orchestras, this one with 19 musicians and of course the classic dancing and an underdog story. It truly is a Broadway delight.

The Set, The Songs, and Cast

New York, New York might have one of the best sets on Broadway right now. It is simple, yet packs a punch and is so artfully done. The core set, resembles apartment buildings in New York, with changing backgrounds in between. They use all of it so creatively from the stage, up to the rafters, and as the performers are singing and dancing on center stage, mini scenes are taking place in a true typical New York moment.

The cast is insanely talented and diverse. Colton Ryan, exudes an almost frenetic energy which is perfect for his demon-filled depiction of Jimmy Doyle as he works to overcome them, and live out his New York dream. Anna Uzele’s portrayal of fresh faced Francine Evans, depicts none of the jadedness that New Yorkers come to develop and is a stark contrast to Jimmy Doyles who happens to be her love interest. Uzele’s rendition of But The World Goes Round is beautiful and showcases her stunning voice.

But they aren’t the only stars, Clyde Alves as Tommy Caggiano, Oliver Prose as Alex Mann, John Clay III as Jesse Web, shined in this musical. Emily Skinner killed it as Madame Veltri and her song Better then Before was absolutely soul searing. All of her songs were, including her duet with Alex (Prose) A Simple Thing Like That was not only poignant, but brought tears to my eyes. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the insanely talented Allison Blackwell, who once again showcased her operatic voice in a Broadway show.

My thoughts

As I mentioned I LOVED it. It was much more of an old school musical, but had a freshness, that many of those classics are missing in today’s day and age. I admit when I heard that Lin Manuel Miranda was involved in co-writing some of the lyrics I was skeptical. Not because he isn’t a brilliant lyricist, but his music has to me, become a tad repetitive over the years. That being said, while some songs had inflections of his musical, In the Heights, it wasn’t so similar that I felt it was receptive and in fact, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.

To me New York, New York is the epitome of the Tony’s, while I do love a few of the other, more modern shows some to a cult fan level status, New York, New York is the complete package of not only what the Tony’s look for, but also what people think a Broadway show is. It evoked all the feels and is an insanely enjoyable way to spend a matinee or a night on Broadway.

The cast recording comes out on Friday June 9 and I can not wait to get it. I will be listening to it on repeat.

Have you seen New York, New York? 

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