By Holli Harms
It is a shout-out to the city of New York and its residents who occupy those spaces of poverty and greed. It is two hours of pure entertainment. It is resilience, human want and need, kindness, and caring, it is having so much fun, laughing, and tapping feet and hands to this wonderful WONDERFUL musical that you bounce out of the theater and down 22nd street smiling at all you meet. And it is what we cherish most, family and friends.
The Streets of New York, an original play by Dion Boucicault, featuring adaptation, songs & direction by Charlotte Moore now playing at The Irish Repertory is enchanting and hilarious with a message in the end that reminds us all, especially at this time of year with holidays all around, to do what you can to see and help those less fortunate.
This is one heck of an ensemble that’s having I think more fun than the audience, though we may be tied. Not only applause after songs but cheers. Loud laughter howling laughter. It is as if we all, audience, cast, and spectacular orchestra are on a ship floating in space with no other care or concern in the world but to enjoy our time together.
The story is that of Gideon Bloodgood (the deliciously bad David Hess), a bank tycoon who in the year of 1837 finds himself with 100,000 dollars that he has absconded with from a dead man, Patrick Fairweather (the lovely Daniel J. Maldonado) leaving Fairweather’s young family with nothing. The only witness to the event is Bloodgood’s clerk, the not-so-good Brendan Badger (splendid Justin Keyes!). We cut to 20 years later and Bloodgood is filthy rich lavishing his only daughter (scene-stealing Amanda Jane Cooper) with whatever she wants. Cooper’s solo “Oh How I Love Being Rich” almost brought the house down. And now twenty years later Badger has shown up to blackmail Bloodgood and make some cash of his own. Cooper, Hess, and Keyes are so much fun to watch be so bad.
The Fairweather’s have lived in squalor the twenty years alongside their friends the Puffy’s and though poor, they are able to find joy in life. And find love. The Fairweather son, Paul played with charming wide-eyed innocence by Ryan Vona happens to be in love with the Puffy’s daughter, Dixie, played with such cool girl vigor by Jordan Tyson that at one point I wanted to stand up as she is proving her bravery and yell “You GO Girl” however I did not. Though had I made the exclamation, I don’t think anyone in the audience nor stage would have been upset. Dixie is in love with Paul, Paul with Dixie but neither knows how to express their feelings. The Fairweather daughter, Lucy, (the wonderful Delaney Westfall) is in love with Mark Livingstone (the dashing Ben Jacoby) who was once heir to riches but squandered all his family fortunes so now he is unable to marry her. Love – wasted on the young. There are many twists and turns to the story and asides to the audience moving at top speed that the show is on fire and blazing through the amazing sets by Hugh Landwehr. The space is intimate and yet it never feels anything but palatial and abundant due to Landwehr’s scenic designs that are both minimal and extravagant.
The Streets of New York is a holiday gift not only beautifully adapted and constructed by Charlotte Moore but also wrapped up in her breakneck direction and Barry McNabb’s fabulously campy, vibrant choreography. It is a Christmas stocking full of outstanding gifts.
The Streets of New York adapted, directed & features original music by Charlotte Moore.
With: Amy Bodnar as Susan Fairweather, Amanda Jane Cooper as Alida Bloodgood, Richard Henry as Dermot Puffy, David Hess as Gideon Bloodgood, Ben Jacoby as Mark Livingston, Justin Keyes as Brendan Badger, Daniel J. Maldonado as Patrick Fairweather/Duke Vlad, Polly McKie as Dolly Puffy, Jordan Tyson as Dixie Puffy, Ryan Vona as Paul Fairweather, Price Waldman as Edwards and DeLaney Westfall as Lucy Fairweather.
Musical Direction is by Mark Hartman, choreography by Barry McNabb, scenic design by Hugh Landwehr, costume design by Linda Fisher, lighting design by Michael Gottlieb, sound design by M. Florian Staab, properties by Deirdre Brennan, hair & wig design by Robert-Charles Vallance, Pamela Brusoski production Stage Manager, April Kline Assistant Stage Manager.
The Streets of New York limited run at Irish Repertory Theatre. Performances Wednesdays at 3pm & 8pm, Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm, Sundays at 2pm
Irish Rep 132 West 22nd Street, New York, NY 10011
Box Office: 212.727.2737
Running Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes including 15-minute intermission
Vaccination and ID required upon entrance. Masks required for duration of performance.
For all from 9 to 99.