I have a lot of love for On the Town. It all started in 1944 with a Jerome Robbins ballet called Fancy Free. The right people thought the ballet could work on Broadway as a musical, and within a year, Comden and Green wrote the book/lyrics and Leonard Bernstein wrote the score for On the Town. It was financed on Broadway by MGM in exchange for the film rights. That 1949 film went on to win an Academy Award for original scoring in a musical (but not for the Bernstein/Comden/Green component, for Roger Edens and Lennie Hayton new music). Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, and Ann Miller starred and it still holds up as a fun musical romp. It's not the deepest material ever, but is sure is a lot of fun.
The show has come to Broadway three times before (the original production, a revival in 1972, and a revival in 1998) and will be returning this fall with a brand new production. The story of sailors taking Manhattan during their 24 hours of shore leave is told through a whole lot of dancing and singing.
Highlights from a recent press rehearsal were released and they look great. BroadwayWorld took it a step further with interviews with seemingly everyone in the cast. Come for the song and dance, stay for Jackie Hoffman being the coolest person in the world still.
Previews of On the Town start 20 September with an opening on 16 October. I'm going to try like heck to get there early in the run. We can only hope an old-fashioned song and dance spectacle like this can find an audience, but you never know.
It also helps that the show features one of my absolute favorite songs. "I Can Cook, Too" is sung by cab driver Hildy who tries to do everything in her power to have a fun night with a handsome young sailor. Lea DeLaria's interpretation is my favorite, though any recorded version is a whole lot of fun. DeLaria just gets jazz music and nails all the nuances of the song.