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Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris Star in "It Shoulda Been You" at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre
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Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris Star in "It Shoulda Been You" at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre

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Daryl Roth, Scott Landis
Jane Bergère, Jayne Baron Sherman
et al.

Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris
Lisa Howard, Sierra Boggess

It Shoulda Been You
(It Shoulda Been You Website)

Book and Lyrics by Brian Hargrove
Music and Concept by Barbara Anselmi

With: David Burtka, Montego Glover, Chip Zien
Josh Grisetti, Adam Heller, Michael X. Martin
Anne L. Nathan, Nick Spangler, Edward Hibbert
Farah Alvin, Gina Ferrall, Aaron C. Finley
Mitch Greenberg, Jillian Louis

Directed by David Hyde Pierce
Choreography by Josh Rhodes
Music Direction and Arrangement by Lawrence Yurman

Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 West 47th Street

Scenic Design: Anna Louizos
Costume Design: William Ivey Long
Lighting Design: Ken Billington
Sound Designer: Nevin Steinberg
Hair Design: Paul Huntley
Makeup Design: Anne Ford-Coates
Assoc. Director: Shelley Butler
Assoc. Choreographer: Lee A. Wilkins
Orchestrator: Doug Besterman
Orchestra Coordinator: John Miller
Marketing: Type A Marketing
Casting: Jay Binder, CSA, Tara Rubin, CSA,
Merri Sugarman, CSA
Technical Supervision: Juniper Street Productions
Production Stage Manager: Bess Marie Glorioso
Press Representative: O&M, Co.
General Management: Foresight Theatrical/Allan Williams

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 18, 2015 Matinee

I can’t remember laughing this heartily in years, and my entire row of theater fans and writers were crying tears of joy. It Shoulda Been You is a new musical that immediately disbands with nouveau, political incorrectness-correctness. Instead, it opts for vaudevillian, verbal poking at all imaginable, societal strata. After all, this is a liquor-infused wedding party, and tension bubbles into unrestrained one-liners. The quintessential, unbridled character is the bride’s mother, Judy Steinberg (a steely Tyne Daly), and the meekest, but wisest, fully controlled character is Judy’s husband, Murray (a warm, Chip Zien). Sister of the bride, Jenny Steinberg (Lisa Howard), absorbs “plump” jokes galore, mainly from her mother, while the maid of honor, Annie Shepard (an underutilized, Montego Glover), is the bride’s best friend. The Jewish bride, Rebecca Steinberg (Sierra Boggess), has chosen a Christian groom, Brian Howard (David Burtka), whose old-school, Waspy family is equally captivating. Of course, these are not the 1950s, and this would all seem retro. But Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi‘s vaudevillian bits and tunes shoot circular arrows all around.

To add to the mayhem, Georgette Howard (Harriet Harris), the new mother-in-law-to-be and husband, George Howard (Michael X. Martin), are stiff, country club-types, yet Georgette’s solo, “Where Did I Go Wrong?”, brings down the house. Greg Madison (Nick Spangler), Brian’s best man and best friend, adds coolness to the burning zingers between the mothers-in-law-to-be. Even more, there’s a spicy duo, Uncle Morty (Adam Heller) and Aunt Sheila (Anne L. Nathan), a former beau of Rebecca, Marty Kaufman (Josh Grisetti), who’s added to the list of onstage best friends, a wedding crasher, seductress, Mimsy (also Anne L. Nathan), and, the pièce de résistance, the wedding planner (an over-the-top Edward Hibbert), brimming with burlesque. Additional cast fills in as waiters and hotel staff. All the action in this intermission-less show takes place on a multi-dimensional, gorgeous set, by Anna Louizos. Doors open and upstairs walkways, dressing rooms, and lobbies magically appear. But, it’s the sharp repartee that makes this show the success it will be. The songs would not be charming, without their lyrical gibes, as the tunes are sitcom-ish. Yet, they’re perfectly composed, not to diminish the impact of words and gesture. However, an exception - Lisa Howard almost stops the show with her “Jenny’s Blues”, securing her breakout role Tyne Daly’s solos, “Nice” and “What They Never Tell You”, are partially spoken, partially sung, and perfectly riotous.

Lawrence Yurman conducts his own ebullient arrangements, but the invisible master of ceremonies is Director, David Hyde Pierce, who keeps the antics comedically seamless, especially in Edward Hibbert’s incredible timing of droll bon mots. William Ivey Long’s dresses, with splashes of pink and blue, and the wedding gown, with lacy frill, shone brightly against the mostly beige set. Josh Rhodes choreographed the step and kick enhancements, but this was a crowded stage, and the book was choreographed enough, with flying barbs and banter. Ken Billington’s lighting and Nevin Steinberg’s sound worked beautifully for this indoor setting. Among the cast, the strongest personalities were Ms. Daly, Ms. Harris, Ms. Howard, Mr. Hibbert, and Ms. Nathan (as Mimsy). Mr. Hyde Pierce and the entire cast have created a new tour de force comedy, the likes we haven’t seen in years. Kudos to all.

Lisa Howard and Tyne Daly
in "It Shoulda Been You"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Lisa Howard and Sierra Boggess
in "It Shoulda Been You"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Sierra Boggess and David Burka
in "It Shoulda Been You"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

Chip Zien, Tyne Daly,
Harriet Harris, Michael X. Martin
in "It Shoulda Been You"
Courtesy of Joan Marcus

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at