Recommended and Member Picks: 'On the Town'
Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein were clever men, all right. But whichever one of them thought of pairing Bernstein's music with words by Betty Comden and Adolph Green was a true Broadway genius. Inspired by Fancy Free, Robbins's 1944 ballet set to a Bernstein score, On the Town engineers delight from the interplay between the composer's high-art influences and the writers' wiseass humor. The show isn't about much: While on 24-hour leave in New York, three sailors meet three women—a lusty cabbie, an anthropologist with a thing for Pithecanthropus erectus, and sweet Ivy Smith, the subway system's Miss Turnstiles for June. Tuneful, witty, occasionally balletic high jinks ensue. What makes the show signify, though, is the authors' recognition that their real subject is the pain and hope of being young in wartime. Under David H. Bell's direction...everything around them swings, especially Marya Grandy as the cabbie, Johanna McKenzie Miller as the anthropologist, Alex Goodrich as the anthropologist's hilariously hapless fiance, and Brandi Wooten as a girl with a bad cold.