Ignoring the advice of all the critics, I was very curious about the major remount/rethink/reconfiguration of the 60s musical, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever.
|Barbara Harris and John Collum |
couldn't save the original
I'd never seen a production of the stage show, nobody ever does it. Despite having won a Tony nomination for star Barbara Harris back in the 60s, the show has never seen a major revival, and the movie version, the 3rd film in the triumvirate of stage-to-screen musicals which introduced Barbra Streisand to Hollywood, is not fondly remembered.
|Streisand wakes up the flowers,|
but delivers a quirky snooze.
The score has some swell items, so clearly, there was book trouble here. With the blessing of the estates of the originators, substantial work was done on the show, to make it more appealing to a modern audience. I believe the changes are viable (I think most of the NY critics disagree), and I enjoyed the performances of all the supporting leads. The new writers reconfigured the story so that the role which Ms Harris and Ms Streisand played is now being played by David Turner, in an endearing and heartfelt performance as a gay man falling in love with his straight shrink (look for Turner's name when the Tony nominations come out).
|As David Gamble, Turner creates a sweetly confused gay man with commitment issues.|
|David Turner and Drew Gehling|
Drew Gehling, as boyfriend Warren (played in the film by straight-arrow Larry Blyden), has the best pipes in the show, and has been gifted with "Love With All The Trimmings," a song written for Streisand in the movie. I think the ultimate failure of this production, which is closing at the end of the month after a disappointing run, lies with its star.
|Harry Connick smiles in all the promo shots,|
but rarely cracks one onstage
Harry Connick, Jr., is playing the psychiatrist, and his participation has slanted the focus of the show; it now centers around his character's recovery from his wife's death. The doctor, as in the original, falls in love with his patient's former life (it was always this 60s-style reincarnation stuff which tripped up the story). In this case, "Melinda" has been updated to be a big band singer from the 40s. This adjustment is rather an awkward one, but it allows the addition of other standards from the Lerner/Lane musical canon to be shoehorned into the show.
|In the original, Melinda was an 18th century aristocrat.|
Here, she's a 1940s band singer.
|Nobody wanted to see Connick fall for a man,|
so Patient Gamble was split in two.