Jeans at the Opera! That’s what I saw Saturday night at a special-engagement semi-staged production of Wonderful Town at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The crowd was much more mixed and relaxed than what you typically see at the Opera – lots of “laymen”, you might say.
I LOVE Leonard Bernstein, and although not as popular as Westside Story and a much lighter piece, it definitely has that nostalgic Broadway feel, with catchy tunes and cheesy lines galore! What a treat it was to see Tony Award-winners Faith Prince and Nikki M. James star as two sisters trying to make it big in the Big Apple. Special shoutout to Roger Bart, a man of many hats (literally), in the role(s) of Narrator, Tour Guide, Speedy Valenti, Chick Clark, etc. Marc Kudisch’s Robert Baker had that dreamy George Clooney feel about him, and both Faith and Nikki were rockstars (although Faith was a bit old for the role, no?).
The special 3-night engagement is over by the time I’m writing this, so I’m not spoiling it for anyone by saying that my favorite parts were the appearance of the cast rising up out of the orchestra pit at the end of the overture, and the surprise dance bits with a troupe of male dancers (and Faith and Nikki too!). Wonderful Town was a real holiday treat!