Bu Daniel Dunlow
In the beginning there was Tyne. In the end there will be Tyne. There will always be Tyne. And she will always be the epitome of perfection. Amen.
Hie thee to the Brooks Atkinson theatre to witness Ms. Daly surrounded by a slew of delightful performances in what is Broadway’s best cast comedy. It Shoulda Been You is the wedding from hell, but still heavenly theatre based on the joy in the actors abilities as comedians. Joke after joke, and the audience is rightfully in stitches. David Hyde Pierce’s directorial debut has its bumps and snags, but what it does have is a material that allows the cast to soar. The musical is far from patchwork comedy, with just funny scenes and songs pasted together, rather it is a lovely afghan made by your Jewish aunt from Broadway-comedy past.
Direction by David Hyde Pierce is lovely. It doesn’t distract and allows the comic moments to be funnier and funnier. He found a lovely momentum that keeps the production driving through the end.
Music by Barbara Anselmi was just as wonderful as the direction. It got out of the way for jokes to land. It was not distracting, nor was it boring. Everything you loved about the 80s and 90s is called upon by her reminiscent writing that keeps feet tapping and jokes flowing. She also found a lovely momentum through the piece with motifs that simmer under the drama, keeping these characters alive. Her song “Jenny’s Blues” has audience’s going wild and theatre students across America scrambling for sheet music. Her best show-stopping tune was “Love You Till the Day,” that had me in laughter-onset tears. Go see it and you’ll see why.
Lyrics by Brian Hargrove (Pierce’s husband) were negligible. The jokes were good, but in order to get to them we had to suffer through rhymes that were less than brilliant.
Choreography was equally as dismissible. Josh Rhodes gives us one mildly entertaining soft-shoe number, but other than that its just clever musical staging.
Costumes by William Ivey Long literally make the audience gasp at their beauty. The wedding dress, the mother-of-the-bride dress, the mother-of-the-groom dress, and the bridesmaids dresses are proven desirable for any person planning their own nuptials. Bravo to the one and only genius of Broadway costuming.
Tyne is the best.
Other standout performances include a happily hilarious Harriet Harris as the mother of the groom. Her comic timing is golden. Josh Grisetti in his public Broadway debut is a comic genius. His role of the desperate ex-boyfriend will have your eyes glued to him throughout. BRAVO! Edward Hibbert as the slightly-effeminate wedding planner was given all of the sterling punchlines, and he made them even better.
This musical is everything you love about Broadway, comedy, weddings, Judaism, Christianity, and it’s only 100 minutes long. All that in 100 minutes. You show up, you laugh, you’re home in time for The Late Show.
Go see this gem… Tyne Daly. And see the gem that is the musical It Shoulda Been You.
It Shoulda Been You
Book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove; music and concept by Barbara Anselmi; directed by David Hyde Pierce; choreography by Josh Rhodes; music direction and arrangements by Lawrence Yurman; sets by Anna Louizos; costumes by William Ivey Long; lighting by Ken Billington; sound by Nevin Steinberg; hair design by Paul Huntley; makeup design by Anne Ford-Coates; associate director, Shelley Butler; associate choreographer, Lee A. Wilkins; orchestrations by Doug Besterman; orchestra coordinator, John Miller; production stage manager, Bess Marie Glorioso; technical supervisor, Juniper Street Productions; general manager, Foresight Theatrical/Allan Williams. Presented by Daryl Roth, Scott Landis, Jane Bergère, Jayne Baron Sherman, Patty Baker, Broadway Across America, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Gloken LLC, James L. Nederlander, John O’Boyle, Judith Ann Abrams/Jacki Barlia Florin, Old Campus Productions/Ready to Play and Sara Beth Zivitz/Passero Productions. At the Brooks Atkinson Theater, 256 West 47th Street, 877-250-2929, itshouldabeenyou.com. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes.
WITH: Tyne Daly (Judy Steinberg), Harriet Harris (Georgette Howard), Lisa Howard (Jenny Steinberg), Sierra Boggess (Rebecca Steinberg), David Burtka (Brian Howard), Montego Glover (Annie Shepard), Chip Zien (Murray Steinberg), Josh Grisetti (Marty Kaufman), Adam Heller (Walt/Uncle Morty), Michael X. Martin (George Howard), Anne L. Nathan (Mimsy/Aunt Sheila), Nick Spangler (Greg Madison) and Edward Hibbert (Albert).