Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Glimpses of the Moon Musical: Reviews

From Variety:

Glimpses of the Moon
(Oak Room, Algonquin Hotel; 81 seats; $50 top)

'Glimpses of the Moon'
Stephen Plunkett and Patti Murin both want to marry millionaires in 'Glimpses of the Moon,' a Jazz Age tuner at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room.
A Lemon Tree Prods. presentation of a musical in two acts with music by John Mercurio, book and lyrics by Tajlei Levis, based on the novel by Edith Wharton. Directed by Marc Bruni. Musical direction, John Mercurio. Choreography, Denis Jones.

Ellie Vanderlyn - Beth Glover
Nelson Vanderlyn - Daren Kelly
Ursula Gillow, Coral
Hicks - Laura Jordan
Winthrop Strefford - Glenn Peters
Susy Branch - Patti Murin
Nick Lansing - Stephen Plunkett
Guest Star - KT Sullivan

The Oak Room at the Algonquin has come up with a novel way to fill winter Monday nights; not a one-shot by an upcoming or faded cabaret singer, but a fully realized mini-musical comedy. "Glimpses of the Moon," from Edith Wharton's 1922 novel (which immediately followed her Pulitzer-winner, "The Age of Innocence"), fits reasonably well in the hallowed room and makes a pleasant evening's diversion.

Wharton's Jazz Age tale tells of a likable dancer-girl and novelist-boy, members of the underfed upper class who subsist from house-party to house-party. Their plan: to marry solely for the purpose of accumulating lavish wedding gifts from their gilt-edged friends, which they figure will bring enough at the pawn shop to get them through a year. They mutually agree to step aside as soon as one or the other finds a bona fide millionaire of their own, but you can pretty much guess what happens.

From Broadway World

It is always a pleasure to see a well-crafted, witty musical comedy. Glimpses of the Moon, an original musical based on an Edith Wharton novel and created specifically for the intimate wood-paneled Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, delivers in spades. Produced by Lemon Tree Productions and written by Tajlei Levis (book and lyrics) and John Mercurio (Music), it is a sparkling valentine to the jazz age.

It is 1922, and Susy Branch (Patti Murin) is a Bright Young Thing, who is popular but penniless, living off rich friends and being delightful, hoping to marry a rich man. At a party hosted by Ellie Vanderlyn (Beth Glover) and her husband Nelson (Daren Kelly), Susy meets the handsome Nick Lansing (Stephen Plunkett), a student of Greek pottery who is equally charming and impecunious. The two hatch a plot to marry each other and then sell off the wedding gifts over the course of a year, for once able to support themselves in the style to which they desperately want to become accustomed. After their honeymoon in a fishing camp owned by their well-connected but also basically poor friend Streffy (Glenn Peters), the two are invited to Ellie's mansion in Newport for the Summer, but when they arrive they find that Ellie is not there. She's off having an affair, and she's tasked Susy with mailing four letters to her husband over the course of the Summer to make him think she's still at home. This was brilliantly dramatized by the hilarious "Letters To Nelson", sung by Ellie getting more and more dishabille with each succeeding missive. Nick takes the time to write an archeological adventure novel (a precursor to Indiana Jones?).

No comments: