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Rob Berman

First Nighter: "Paint Your Wagon" Revival Paints Town Red-Hot

David Finkle | Posted 05.19.2015 | Arts
David Finkle

When Paint Your Wagon was first done and record companies still actively scoured upcoming scores for chart-topping possibilities, the ones selected were "I Talk to the Trees" and "They Call the Wind Maria."

First Nighter: Encores! Irma La Douce Isn't So Sweet

David Finkle | Posted 07.10.2014 | Arts
David Finkle

What Irma La Douce really is is rampant idiocy, for which there may be no excuse but for which there may be a wacky rationale having to do with national tastes.

First Nighter: Encores! Most Happy Fella Mostly Happy

David Finkle | Posted 06.03.2014 | Arts
David Finkle

Frank Loesser disliked repeating himself. When he produced book, music and lyrics for The Most Happy Fella in 1956, he decided to go operatic. Not all the way, but more than he ever had before -- "My Time of Day" from Guys and Dolls, notwithstanding.

First Nighter: Little Me Big and Christian Borle Even Bigger

David Finkle | Posted 04.09.2014 | Entertainment
David Finkle

When Little Me opened in November 1962, its major pluses were Sid Caesar, the Carolyn Leigh-Cy Coleman score and the rarely-miss Neil Simon gags. Revived at City Center this weekend, it can crow about what could be called a breakout performance by Christian Borle.

First Nighter: Soft ...Hardbody, Happy Happy Birthday and It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Not Too Good

David Finkle | Posted 05.22.2013 | Arts
David Finkle

Hands on a Hardbody follows -- with music -- a marathon where the contestant who keeps at least one hand on a truck the longest gets to drive the shiny new vehicle home.

First Nighter: The Woefully Misunderstood Damsels in Distress of Passion and Cinderella

David Finkle | Posted 05.18.2013 | Arts
David Finkle

The correct title for the Sondheim-Lapine opus would be Romantic Obsession, and it wouldn't try to ingratiate itself as a depiction of what genuine love is. Passion is anything but a love story.

First Nighter: Encores! Series' Pipe Dream Almost a Dream Come True

David Finkle | Posted 05.29.2012 | Entertainment
David Finkle

Of course, when songs so ebullient and/or passionate are this good, who's going to complain? Although a number of the Encores! dust-offs have moved to Broadway, this one certainly won't. Never mind, since it has enough going for it right where it is.

First Nighter: Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along Does and Doesn't

David Finkle | Posted 04.19.2012 | Entertainment
David Finkle

Ever since the Stephen Sondheim-George Furth-Harold Prince Merrily We Roll Along opened in 1981, rolling along merrily is one thing it hasn't done.

First Nighter: City Center Encores! Series Where's Charley? All-Singing, All-Dancing, All-Lovable

David Finkle | Posted 05.25.2011 | Arts
David Finkle

At a time when spectacle is the trend in musicals on Broadway, the appeal of something merely charming may not be strong. There was a time, however, when charm counted, and there was no "merely" about it.