04 November 2009

Animal Crackers

Last month I paid to see this show twice. And enjoyed it enormously both times.

Animal Crackers is a musical originally written for the Marx Brothers to perform on Broadway, which they later made into a movie. So the key cast members of this show are not just playing their parts, but playing a Marx Brother playing their parts. (Even though cast members have repeatedly said they are not doing impersonations, of course they are--Groucho, Chico, and Harpo are recognizably on the stage.)

But the show's success is not just based on pitch-perfect impersonations (Joey Slotnick as Groucho is terrific, but my personal favorite, Molly Brennan of 500 Clowns, is a swell Harpo, and Jonathan Brody even plays the piano like Chico did), but also great music (some of the songs are still stuck in my head), and choreography. Who expected dancing in a Marx Brothers show? I didn't. The set was beautifully designed--everything made you feel like you were watching a show 80 years ago.

Except the jokes, which were as fresh as ever. (But for the one about shooting an elephant in his pajamas...nothing could make that new.)

This was just a completely outstanding production. I have heard no whispers about it going to New York, but it ought to...it ought to go everywhere.

No comments: