© Photo courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals
Blazing the gamut from dry humor to overt slapstick comedy, Bullets Over Broadway elicits hearty laughs in this unapologetically silly and extremely well-performed musical written by Woody Allen. A cast of satirically colorful characters deliberately bumble their way through this 1929-set story in which an up-and-coming playwright named David Shane (performed by the superbly talented Michael Williams) creates a breakout Broadway play which is financed by wealthy gangster Nick Valenti (Justin Jutras).
The agreement is negotiated through businessman Julian Marx (Rick Grossman) under the condition that Nick's untalented, dim-witted girlfriend Olive (Jemma Jane) will receive a prominent role in the production. Jane couldn't be any more the polar opposite of the ditsy character she plays considering that her super-solid triple-threat performance (complete with hilarious hyper-exaggerated Cyndi Lauper style) was, without a doubt, a highlight of the show.
An emerging love triangle soon turns octagonal as reserved mobster Nick remains head over heels in love with the flighty Olive who in turn consents to a fling with fellow castmate Warner Purcell (Bradley Allan Zarr) all while his belly grows increasingly bigger and bigger in each unfolding scene due to his insatiable infatuation with food. Keystone Cop-like antics also ensue in the complex but easy-to-follow plotline as washed-up diva actress Helen Sinclair (Emma Stratton) has cougar-like intentions toward the young playwright David Shane who's simultaneously dodging a marriage commitment to his long-time girlfriend Ellen (Hannah Rose DeFlumeri) before she finally gives in to advances from one of David's closest friends. Meanwhile, strong-arm bodyguard Cheech (Jeff Brooks) has a growing adoration for his ideas about rewriting David Shane's play; and the exuberantly-endearing Eden Brent (Rachel Bahler) happily recites her lines in pig Latin.
Equally impressive stars in this dialogue-rich show include the relatively silent members of the accompanying ensemble. Donned in elegantly-understated era-specific costumes (designed by six-time Tony Award® winner William Ivey Long), the seductive Atta-Girls and their adjacent male gangster counterparts easily cut a rug straight toward the hearts of theatergoers (originally choreographed on Broadway by Susan Stroman, recreated for tour by Clare Cook) with a variety of fancy footwork including an especially impressive tap dance number by the menacing group of gangsters.
Lively orchestrations (music adaptation and additional lyrics by Glen Kelly) coupled with substantial set pieces such as the front of an approaching automobile and the semblance of a rotating train car (scenic design by Jason Ardizzone-West) brought to life this amusing musical rife with double entendre and sexual innuendo as most blatantly depicted with the facetious song lyrics
This new musical comedy Bullets Over Broadway (originally directed by five-time Tony Award® winner Susan Stroman, now recreated by Jeff Whiting) is based on the screenplay (by Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath for the 1994 film) and ran on Broadway in 2014 before launching its national tour. The show is now playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park through June 26, 2016, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals with tickets starting at just $17.00 ... and that's an offer you just can't refuse.
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