Tony Yazbeck, Jay Armstong Johnson, and Clyde Alves are all outstanding in the current revival of “On The Town” at the newly renamed Lyric Theatre (formerly the home of “Spiderman” and, at that time, the American Airlines Theatre. Megan Fairchild (as Ivy Smith, the object of desire, dances outstandingly, though one wishes once could hear her more); Elizabeth Stanley (as Clair de Loone performs admirably), and Alysha Umphress (as Hildy brings a real delight to her portrayal), and all three strive mightily in roles that were created – at the time – brilliantly for a long-ago age.
However, one must ask “why is this show being revived yet again after the recent (am I betraying my age here?) revival by George C. Wolfe?” The previous production highlighted the future of the three sailors about to ship off for a debatable future in the midst of WWII. This production seems to highlight the hijinks of their day of shore leave in NYC.
The book, admirably prescient during its debut in 1944, now struggles for genuine laughs. In the future, possibly the controllers of the original creator’s estates will allow compressions of material or even the thought of someone to goose up the material and provide a future audience’s delight in what remains a high point of American musical theatre, one which is now, unfortunately, showing its age.