York Theatre Company, New York
2017-05-19 • 14:00
Second “developmental reading” of the week at the York. Come Up ‘n’ See Me, a biosical about Mae West, is not exempt from clichés (starting with the framing device of telling West’s life in flashback as she arrives at the Pearly Gates), but it has a highly hummable score. In a way, it is a female counterpart to Cagney, a musical that originated at the York.
Mae West was of course infamous for her innuendos and double entendres… and the libretto seems to rely a little bit too much on them. It could probably use some additional structure beyond the obvious theme of “under a frivolous surface, she was a woman with a golden heart.”
I was particularly happy to see Debbie Gravitte play the lead — she really has that something that sets charismatic performers apart. George Dvorsky’s performance was equally remarkable.
Music and Lyrics by Bonnie Lee Sanders and Ellen Schwartz. Book by Bonnie Lee Sanders, Ellen Schwartz and Bianca Leigh.
Directed by Crystal Chapman. Music Direction by Tom Spahn. With Debbie Gravitte (Mae West), George Dvorsky (James Timony), Joel Blum, Tom Bozell, Robert H. Fowler, Tanya Haglund, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Jem Jender, Annie McGreevey, Tommy Vance, Victor Wisehart.