Covedale’s “On The Town” is a Night Well-Spent
Review by Nathan Top
Based on an original idea by Tony-decorated choreographer Jerome Robbins, “On the Town” tells the story of three navy sailors, Gabey, Ozzie, and Chip, who are ported in New York for twenty four hours. Wanting to find a date for that evening, Gabey sets his sights on Ivy Smith, whom he sees on a subway poster as the June “Miss Turnstiles” winner. With loyal wingmen Ozzie and Chip to assist, Gabey begins a wide search across New York for the elusive Ivy Smith, hoping to have a date with her before their time at port runs out.
Director and choreographer Genevieve Perrino takes on the ambitious show with deliberate, focused vision. The production feels like a cartoon come-to-life, with elaborate dance numbers and animated character-acting performed by the cast. Genevieve and Maggie Perrino’s choreography does a significant amount of the storytelling, similar to Robbins’s original concept of a story told as a ballet. The light, breezy optimistic story (with exceptionally snappy dialogue by writers Betty Comden and Adolph Green) almost takes a backseat to the extensive dance numbers of the show. Scenic designer Brett Bowling has created a versatile set, taking the audience from a ship port to a subway to an apartment to several different night clubs. “On The Town” is as cinematic as a stage musical can get.
One thing this production does well is conceal how difficult this show is. In contrast with the frivolous and occasionally glib script, Leonard Bernstein’s score is no joke and the live pit of seven musicians does a respectable job with the music, specifically with the challenging ballet numbers filled with exposed soloistic lines and fluctuating levels of tonality.
The cast is more than sufficient for the sneaky demanding show. Christopher Wells as the idealistic Gabey is adorable and does a beautiful job on my favorite song of the show, “Lucky To Be Me.” Gabriel Kanai Nakata and Anna Rae Brown as Chip and Hildy have hilarious comedic chemistry in the tunes “Come Up To My Place” and “I Can Cook, Too.” Christian Arias and Kali Marsh also do exceptional work on their number “Carried Away.” Kate Stark as Ivy Smith does a beautiful and surprisingly heart-rending job on the ballet “Presentation of Miss Turnstiles” while Nick Godfrey and Cassidy Steele showcase their character-acting chops as Pitkin and Lucy Schmeeler. The entire cast is vivacious and tireless in this coruscating production.
If you are looking for a fun and entertaining evening, Covedale’s rib-tickling “On The Town” is the place to be. Running now through April 10th, tickets can be purchased here.