By Betsyann Faiella
You needn’t worry that Broadway’s Some Like it Hot, won’t live up to the 1959 Academy Award-nominated movie version that is considered one of the greatest comedies of all times – and featured a singing Marilyn Monroe to boot.
The show comes rip-roaring onto the impeccably dressed stage and it never wains once in its excellence. From beginning to end the music is terrific, the sets and costumes are terrific, and the choreography and staging are exciting. The basic plot is the same as the film: two broke musicians who witness a mob hit have to take it on the lam, disguising themselves as women so they can join a traveling, all-female band, Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators.
The story, still set in the 20s, has been altered seamlessly and unselfconsciously to include themes of racism and LGBT+ themes. Jerry/Daphne (J. Harrison Ghee) is tall and handsome, and his chemistry with lifelong buddy Joe/Josephine (Christian Borle), is very natural. Borle is a marvel of comic timing and sideways glances, and the Midwest accent he affects as his female alter ego is very specific and perfect for the character. Jerry is gentle and sensible in contrast to Joe, but he doesn’t want for laughs, either. His lightbulb moments are enormously touching and you are in his corner when his character is in full bloom. The two female leads are exciting to watch and listen to. Sweet Sue (NaTasha Yvette Williams), is a big woman who creates excitement every time she‘s on stage. She is beautifully costumed by Gregg Barnes. Adrianna Hicks as Sugar is a powerhouse singer and actor, scorching hot and adorable. Kevin Del Aguila’s Osgood is a nebbishy charmer. All the cast is on point.
The set design is creative and sophisticated. There are a good number of sets, but two fabulous ones are extremely simple. Amazing what can be done with string of colored lights.
Sugar’s “showstopper” number, A Deeper Shade of Blue, is a bit formulaic, and I had one quibble with a certain piece of staging. I left the show incredibly satisfied and excited, as Some Like It Hot is a wildly entertaining farce from start to finish. I’m thrilled for anyone who gets to see this musical.
Director/Choreographer: Casey Nicholaw.
Christian Borle as Joe, J. Harrison Ghee as Jerry, Adrianna Hicks as Sugar, Kevin Del Aguila as Osgood, NaTasha Yvette Williams as Sweet Sue, Adam Heller as Mulligan, Mark Lotito as Spats, and Angie Schworer as Minnie. Ensemble: TyNia René Brandon, Ian Campayno, Gabi Campo, DeMarius Copes, Casey Garvin, Devon Hadsell, Ashley Elizabeth Hale, Jenny Hill, K.J. Hippensteel, Abby Matsusaka, Jarvis B. Manning Jr., Brian Thomas Martin, Amber Owens, Kayla Pecchioni, Richard Riaz Yoder, Charles South, Brendon Stimson, Raena White, and Julius Williams.
The creative team includes Scott Pask (Sets), Gregg Barnes (Costumes), Natasha Katz (Lights), Brian Ronan (Sound), Josh Marquette (Hair & Wigs)
Shubert Theater, 225 W. 44th Street. Tickets are available at www.Telecharge.com.
The digital lottery for Some Like It Hot can be found at https://somelikeithotmusicallottery.com/. Entries for the digital lottery start at 12:00am, one day before the performance, and end that same day at 3:00pm. Winners are drawn at 9:00am for matinees and 3:00pm for evening shows. Winners may buy up to two tickets at $40 each plus a $5 service fee.