Mom Theatre Blogger: GIGI: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman

gigiThe new Broadway production of Gigi, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s beloved Oscar and Tony Award-winning musical comedy, opened April 8th at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 West 52nd Street).

Gigi stars Vanessa Hudgens, who makes her admirable Broadway debut in the title role, Tony Award-winner Victoria Clark (The Light in the Piazza, Sister Act, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella) as Mamita, Corey Cott (Newsies) as Gaston Lachaille, three-time Tony Award-nominee Dee Hoty (The Will Rogers Follies, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, Footloose) as Aunt Alicia, two-time Tony Award-nominee Howard McGillin (The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Anything Goes) as Honoré Lachaille and Steffanie Leigh (Mary Poppins) as Liane d’Exelmans.

Gigi, with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, features a new book adaptation by Heidi Thomas and is choreographed by Emmy Award-winner Joshua Bergasse and directed by Eric Schaeffer.

Gigi includes such numbers as “Thank Heaven for Little Girls,” “I Remember It Well,” “The Night They Invented Champagne” and the Oscar-winning title song, “Gigi”. Gigi also won the Tony Award for Best Score in 1974, and the new production includes four of the songs that the team of Lerner & Loewe wrote for the stage version, including “Paris is Paris Again,” “I Never Want to Go Home Again,” “The Contract,” and “In this Wide, Wide World”.

My son, 12, really enjoyed this lively production.  He’s a fan of Ms. Hudgens from her High School Musical Days, and her energy on stage is as infectious.  As charming as she is — and a good belter too — I found myself missing Leslie Caron (who starred in the film).  Here, her character is 18 vs. 15, and Cott, who becomes her suitor, is closer to her age, so the relationship is far less taboo….which alters the tension and sexual vibe of the relationship.

That said, Ms. Hudgens bubbles over in a good way in “The Night They Invented Champagne,” and the elegant Clark lends a good dose of emotion in the affecting “Say a Prayer.”

Dee Hoty as spunky Aunt Alicia brings a light-hearted delivery to an otherwise stiff role.

The charming Maurice Chevalier, who starred with Ms. Caron in the film, is sorely missed on Broadway.  “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”, the song he made famous, was this time sung by two women — Hoty and Clark.  Howard McGillin as Honore Lachaille is a far cry from Mr. Chevalier, particularly with the somewhat dismal delivery of “I Remember It Well” with Clark.

Scenic design (striking and ornate) is by Tony Award-winner Derek McLane, costume design (stunning) is by five-time Tony Award- winner Catherine Zuber, lighting design is by four-time Tony Award-winner Natasha Katz and sound design is by Tony Award-nominee Kai Harada. Hair design is by David Brian Brown. Make-up design is by Jon Carter. Musical supervisor is James Moore. Musical director is Greg Jarrett. Orchestrations are by August Eriksmoen. Vocal and incidental music arrangement is by Matt Aument. Dance music arrangements are by Sam Davis. Music coordinator is John Miller.

If you’re a fan of Ms. Hudgens, you will enjoy this production.  If you’re a fan of Gigi, you might be well-served to check out the 1958 film on Netflix.


Tags: , , , , , ,