Some shows are serious, deep, and thoughtful. Others, like Joe DiPetro’s hilarious “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” are just plain good fun. The musical, which features songs by George and Ira Gershwin, including some of their biggest and best well-known hits, is made larger-than-life for North Carolina Theatre, thanks to playful direction by Katherine Marshall. Marshall also serves as choreographer for the show, and her play-everything-for-large-laughs philosophy is as evident in her fast-paced, sometimes-dizzying but always charming dance numbers as it is in her direction.
The farcical story is set in the late 1920s and revolves around Jimmy Winter (Alex Enterline) and the crazy happenings that unfold in his posh world. Young-ish Jimmy is desperate to impress his mother, Millicent (Barbara Weetman), to avoid being disinherited. As a result, he marries the respectable and well-to-do Eileen Evergreen (Rachel Scarr). While Eileen is certainly pretty enough, Jimmy isn’t truly in love her, especially not after he meets Billie Bendix (Mariah MacFarlane), a perky, spirited lady bootlegger.
The rest of the madcap story unfolds as Billie and her band of ne’er-do-well criminal friends interact with Jimmy and his rich, equally ne’er-do-well pals. The high-energy, always-funny cast and the bright, realistic sets combine to make this play both aesthetically pleasing and incredibly funny. MacFarlane dazzles as Billie, making her half-pint character as charming and irrepresible as the script calls for. Scarr is also hilarious, playing her role as airheaded rich girl to a perfect tee. She is particularly delightful during her reendition of “Delishious,” which is one of the show’s best song and dance numbers. It’s so over the top that it actually features an astounding number of “bubble boys” and “bubble girls” emerging from Eileen’s bathtub and doing a whimsical little dance number.
And really, that’s not even the most extreme of the hilarious antics that happen onstage during this fast-paced, super fun comedy. It’s light, airy, and a darn good time!
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT (Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre, Jan. 20-25 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh, NC).
SHOW: http://www.nctheatre.com/shows/nice-work, http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/event/nice-work-if-you-can-get-it-5180, and https://www.facebook.com/events/615496478569331/.
VIDEO PREVIEWS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oBhXQpqTAI and http://www.niceworkontour.com/video/.
Broadway Series South: http://www.progressenergycenter.com/broadway-series-south, https://www.facebook.com/broadwayseriessouthraleigh, and https://twitter.com/BroadwaySouth.
North Carolina Theatre: http://www.nctheatre.com/, https://www.facebook.com/nctheatre, https://twitter.com/nctheatre, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Theatre, and http://www.youtube.com/user/nctheatre.
BSS 2015 SEASON: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/broadway-series-south.
NCT 2015 SEASON: http://www.nctheatre.com/2015-shows.
BSS BLOG: http://www.dukeenergycenterraleigh.com/blog/news-events.
NCT BLOG (Stage Notes): http://www.nctheatre.com/stage-notes.
Nice Work If You Can Get It (2012 Broadway musical): http://www.niceworkontour.com/ (official website), http://www.ibdb.com/show.php?id=491373 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nice_Work_If_You_Can_Get_It_%28musical%29 (Wikipedia).
George Gershwin (Brooklyn, NY-born composer, 1898-1937): http://www.gershwin.com/ (official website), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=5813 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gershwin (Wikipedia.
Ira Gershwin (New York City-born lyricist, 1896-1983): http://www.gershwin.com/ (official website), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=6435 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ira_Gershwin (Wikipedia).
Joe DiPietro (Teaneck, NJ-born playwright and lyricist): http://www.rnh.com/bio/88/DiPietro-Joe (Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization bio), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=383115 (Internet Broadway Database), and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_DiPietro (Wikipedia).
Kathleen Marshall (Pittsburgh, PA-born Broadway director and choreographer): http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=1296 (Internet Broadway Database) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Marshall (Wikipedia).
David Eggers (National Tour director and choreographer): http://ibdb.com/person.php?id=76406 (Internet Broadway Database). [RUN HAS CONCLUDED.]
Susie Potter is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer and editor. She is a 2009 graduate of Raleigh’s Meredith College, where she majored in English. She holds graduate degrees in teaching and American literature from North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In addition to her work for Triangle Arts and Entertainment, she is an award-winning author of short fiction. Her works have appeared in The Colton Review, Raleigh Quarterly, Broken Plate Magazine, Big Muddy: A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley, the Chaffey Review, and Existere. To read all of Susie Potter’s Triangle Arts and Entertainment articles and reviews, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/susie-q/. To read more of her writings, click http://www.susiepotter.com and http://www.myspace.com/susiepotter.