This mythical sung-through 1954 show, which is almost an opera, has achieved legendary status among musical theatre aficionados. Based on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, it boasts one of the most glorious scores ever written for the musical stage, as well as some wildly clever lyrics. The score by Jerome Moross lies somewhere between Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein; it is bouncy and rhythmic, unmistakably American… and mostly superb.
This Encores! production could hardly have got it more right. The direction by Michael Berresse wisely chooses to showcase the material instead of commenting on it. As always, Joshua Bergasse’s choreography is original and to the point… while the brilliant cast does complete justice to the show. I have always loved Lindsay Mendez: her voice is about as amazing as her comic timing. Mikaela Bennett sounds eerily like Audra McDonald. And it is always nice to see the charming Ryan Silverman, who recently played Giorgio in Passion both in New York and in Paris.
Music: Jerome Moross. Lyrics: John Latouche.
Directed by Michael Berresse. Music Director: Rob Berman. Choreography by Joshua Bergasse. With Mikaela Bennett (Penelope), Ryan Silverman (Ulysses), Lindsay Mendez (Helen), Baron Cowperthwaite (Paris), Jason Kravits (Hector Charybdis), …