I saw Broadway's new musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels last night. The film turned musical is currently still in previews and stars John Lithgow.
I liked the original late 80s film with Michael Caine and Steve Martin, so I was skeptical seeing it with new actors and as a musical, however I was pleasantly surprised. The whole show was really fun and filled with an exciting and electric spirit that captured me and the audience.
The Academy Award nominee and Emmy-winning, John Lithgow, was of course great as Lawrence Jameson, the classy seasoned con man/gigolo played by Michael Caine in the movie. Lithgow sang his numbers wonderfully and played the comedic character with ease in a seemingly effortless way. In the Steve Martin role as the unpolished cheat is stage actor Norbert Leo Butz, formerly of Wicked.
There were lots of added jokes relevant to recent public figures and pop-culture events that had everyone laughing. The show also included the audience in on their jokes by stepping out onto the balcony, having a staged usher sing or looking out at the filled seats and commenting: "Someone might need me in the second act."
The songs were fun without a corny dramatic feel. There is actually a love song called "Love is my Legs" that makes fun of love songs in general and big Broadway love ballots, which was a riot.
The sets were lively with an island vacation feel to them and would constantly spin into a new set, even as the characters were walking on it. How the stars never tripped or got dizzy is beyond me. The costumes though were my favorite. The dancers would come out in these really pretty gowns or tango clothes, plus the general wardrobe fit perfectly with the setting.
The new script also added in a diverting and cute side romance between two secondary characters that wasn't in the original film. These characters are played by the amusing Joanna Gleason and Gregory Jbara.
Sorry I keep mentioning the word fun, but that is what the show is, fun. The musical officially opens March 3 and will sure to be the next "The Producers."
PS: Another entertaining and silly musical that's out now is Wonderful Town with Brooke Sheilds, I wrote a brief reveiw of the show in November here