It's not really a new musical by Stephen Sondheim, just a reworked version of his show Bounce and/or Wise Guys, which never made it into New York. I had not heard many good things about Bounce, but I still wanted to see this incarnation titled Road Show. This was my first time to see a "new" Sondheim musical and you know that I wouldn't miss an opportunity like that. My first impression is that I want to see it again. It is unlike any of Sondheim's others, but there's the same smartness and you can hear "him" in the score (especially Assassins). I found the melodies to be memorable. Although I have the Bounce recording, I have never listened to it for some reason or another. Actually, I have heard two songs live - You're the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me performed by Michelle Pawk & Gregg Edelman at Wall to Wall Sondheim and Isn't He Something performed by Bernadette Peters at Avery Fisher Hall. I love both of these songs and was happy to hear them in context last night. The acting - especially by Michael Cerveris - was fantastic. It was so good to see both Michael and Alexander Gemignani back on stage. I love them both and they were fantastic and in especially good voice. Michael told me that it's a little higher than he's used to, but I thought it sat well in his range. It was hard to believe that it was only the second preview. I liked the space at the Newman inside the Public and thought it worked very well for director John Doyle's concept - fairly minimal with the full cast on stage at all times. Although it's not a show full of heart and feels a bit cold at times, it was interesting and funny. The relief from the chill comes from from the Mama character played by Alma Cuervo. Michael and Alex play brothers real life brothers in crime (or at least in scam) Wilson and Addison Mizner in search of the American dream, at any cost, and Mama is the one character who keeps them returning to each other. Road Show runs at the Public Theatre until December 28th.
Before the show, I met one of my favorite stage actresses, Kate Baldwin and her handsome husband Graham Rowat. We had such fun visiting about Wall to Wall Sondheim, etc. She reminded us that Graham also sang at Wall to Wall on Agony - he's fabulous too, of course! Kate is finally back in New York after months away - A Little Night Music in Baltimore, She Loves Me in Boston and The Women in San Diego. I'm so glad to have this nomad back in the city and hope a fabulous stage role, worthy of her, comes her way very soon. She told me she's looking for tv and film, so producers take note - pay her some big bucks so she can afford to be on the stage more. God knows, we need her. And just in case you haven't met her yourself, she's everything you want her to be.
After the show, I talked to Michael - he immediately said, "Hey! It's good to see you again!" Of course, he got used to seeing me at Sweeney Todd all those many wonderful nights. It was indeed good to see him again.