I am constantly amazed when people tell me that their favorite musical of all-time is Rent or Wicked. And these are people who will vigorously debate the emotional impact of the contemporary pieces in the latest MCA exhibit or who will be eager to sit through and dissect a multi-hour molecular gastronomy meal. But whenever it comes to musical theater, many people, regardless of how worldly, highly-educated, sophisticated-seeming they are, seem to have let their taste get lost somewhere within the Tri-state tollway system. Choosing Rent or Wicked, with their least-common denominator pop scores, over the many glorious classics of the American musical theater? Head-scratching. So I can empathize with the great difficulties that theaters and artistic directors face in getting the great musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, the golden age of musical theater on Broadway, embraced and enjoyed by an audience who would rather have a colonics session than hear Gershwin, or Rodgers and Hammerstein, or Porter, or Bernstein, performed in all their glory. American Theater Company and the Court Theater recently put on minimalist, stripped-down, plain-speaking productions of Oklahoma! and Carousel respectively, and they were both critical and box-office successes. And now it’s Porchlight Theater‘s turn – it is currently staging a no-frills, sparingly re-envisioned production of Leonard Bernstein’s classic, Candide, which possesses one of the most gorgeous scores in the musical theater canon. Although highly entertaining and accessible, guaranteed to make even the most stoic non-musical lover humming “Glitter and Be Gay”, and, as a bonus, marvelously raunchy, Porchlight’s Candide could have been dazzling with an over the top, pull-out-all-the-stops staging.
Tags: Porchlight Theater