The sights and sounds of old New York are just a few of the marvels of the musical On the Town, newly revived at the Lyric Theater. If you see a subway sign marked IRT, you know you are in the right place. Three sailors on an overnight pass get to see the sights, "from Yonkers on down to the bay, in just one day." Naturally, and so the guidebook says, the Museum of Natural History is a must, and everywhere there are girls, girls, girls in this ribald and rollicking classic with Leonard Bernstein's music and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, based on the idea by Jerome Robbins. Director John Rando, with Joshua Bergasse's choreography and James Moore's music direction, has subtly reworked the original to great effect.
For Gabey (Tony Yazbeck) one of the three sailors, there is only one girl, Miss Turnstiles, Ivy Smith. In this ingenious revival, a real ballerina (Megan Fairchild, principal dancer for the New York City Ballet) performs this role, and her dreamy dancing is worth the price of admission. The sailors each get what they are looking for in the city that never sleeps: Ozzie (Clyde Alves) an anthropologist aptly named Claire De Loone (Elizabeth Stanley), and a scene set against the museum's signature dinosaurs is simply hilarious; Chip (Jay Armstrong Johnson) falls for a taxi driver, Hildy (Alysha Umphress). Now that many cabs have turned green, the yellow ones are just as endangered a species as the mighty creatures represented by the museum's oversized, and dancing, bones.
One of the great joys of this musical is that treacherous taxi ride as Hildy, making hairpin turns and rarely watching the road as she sings, seduces her fare. All is set against a romantic New York, where the Statue of Liberty, in Beowulf Borritt's expert design, looms large over a turquoise bubble gum river, ready for its next round of sailors, and you.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.