If there's one thing Susan Stroman's new production of The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera House isn't, it's merry. Sometimes frenetic, yes, but merry, no -- and in several ways that composer Franz Léhar might not have condoned.
The list of delightful ingredients in the Encores! Series revival of The Band Wagon is so long that not only is it pleasing the crowds attending at City Center, but it has the usual show-biz-insider suspects talking about a transfer for a longer Broadway run.
Only occasionally does Engstrom include one of Parker's economic poems. She leaves out the one about men not making passes at girls who wear glasses and the suicidal one with the conclusion that you might as well live.
Intelligent, unconventional, non-cookie-cutter Broadway musicals are so rare that we try to go out of our way to encourage those that come along. Susan Stroman's Big Fish, at the Neil Simon, is such a one.