ROBIN’S SHOW RECOMMENDATION: Leap of Faith
I can’t rave enough about Raul Esparza! I’ve loved him ever since the Off Broadway musical Tick Tick Boom, and I’ve been waiting for a showpiece for him ever since. This is it!
If you are a Raul fan, you must see Leap of Faith. And, if you don’t know him, you must see Leap of Faith. He is one of the most brilliant musical theatre performers working today, and in Leap of Faith, he’s able to share his talent on all levels. Portraying depth of emotion, sex appeal, dancing (haven’t seen him do much of this in the past), displaying masterful and distinctive vocal chops, he’s a force to be reckoned with and commands the stage whether in his glittery silver blazer or not. No doubt he’ll get a deserving Tony nod for Best Actor in a Musical, and hopefully will walkoff with it!
He’s supported by a large, stellar cast with many standouts including Jessica Phillips (Marla McGowan, feisty town sherif and his love interest), Kendra Kassebaum (his dedicated, yet conniving sister Sam Nightingale), Talon Ackerman (in the tug at your heartstrings role of wheelchair bound boy Jake McGowan), Kecia Lewish-Evans (Ida Mae Sturdevant, a leading choir member and devout Nightingale follower), and the wonderful Leslie Odom, Jr. as Isaiah Sturdevant (son of Ida Mae who works hard to expose Nightingale).
Leap of Faith is about a con-artist/preacher and the town that dares him to take his very own leap of faith. It’s based on the 1992 movie featuring Steve Martin. Set in a small, lackluster Kansas town called Sweetwater, Jonas and his flock of Angels make a bus pit stop there and decide to set up a revival tent complete with choir, to wow the poverty-stricken locals by presenting fake miracles in glitzy sideshow fashion….in exchange for which the Kansas folk will hopefully fork over money, gold, etc. to support the efforts of Jonas.
Music is by Alan Menken, the Oscar-winning composer of Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors and Aladdin. Lyrics by Glenn Slater. Book is by Janus Cercone and Warren Leight, and features some winning lines. Choreography is excellent by Sergio Trujillo.
Tender tunes like Walking Like Daddy (which could have used a Reprise) and Like Magic are affecting, though not memorable. Jonas’s Soliloquy puts Raul in the impressive solo spotlight where he belongs, and it was a welcome, more quiet number. Rise Up, though rousing Gospel, could use a trimming as the opening number. Act One is a bit of an obvious build-up storywise, but once we get more of the meaningful, insider details of key characters, we are drawn in, and Act Two delivers.
Directed by Christopher Ashley, Leap of Faith is sure to capture multiple Tony nominations. See it, and cast your own vote. For details on the show, visit LeapofFaithBroadway.com.
Save up to 40%! Valid for performances April 3 – May 13.
Tues, Wed, Thurs Performances:
$79 (regularly $122/$132) Orch/Front Mezz Rows A-P
Fri, Sat, Sun Performances
$89 (regularly $137) Orch/Front Mezz Rows A – P
Call 212-974-8844, and use code LFFNF301. Online, go to BroadwayOffers.com, or visit the St. James Theatre box office (246 W. 44th Street), and mention code LFFNF301.