Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood
By Andrew Andrews
From the moment York Theatre Company announced their plans in mid-September, I anxiously awaited the opportunity to attend this production!
Thrilled this summer by Mac-Haydn’s revue of Kander & Ebb (The World Goes Round), and now saddened by the passing of Stephen Sondheim and disappointed by Diana: The Musical, I’ve been counting on this show to bring to life the heyday of American musicals that I’d only ever experienced through weekend reruns on AMC.
After a devastating flood destroyed their traditional space, York brings their first post-pandemic production to the resplendent Theatre at St. Jean’s, where spacious stadium seating guarantees a comfortable experience and nary a bad view from anywhere in the house!
From the opening tap dance to Blue Skies (from The Jazz Singer) to the closing performance of Let’s Face the Music and Dance (from Follow the Fleet), the highlight of Cheek to Cheek is its choreography. The six members of the cast are adept professional dancers who can also
The orchestra is equally as consummate as the performers, and the faultless sound ascertains that every note and every lyric is crystal clear when it reaches your ears.
There’s only one thing missing: the songs that everyone knows and expects to hear.
While many of Berlin’s most famous compositions might not have been written specifically for the movies, that’s where they ended up. I can only guess that Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Easter Parade, Puttin’ on the Ritz, There’s No Business Like Show Business, and White Christmas (still the #1 single of all time!) were omitted due to licensing issues, or perhaps the creators’ desire to expand the audience’s knowledge of Berlin’s work.
The result, however, is that despite how technically wonderful this beautiful revue may be, it’s just not as thrilling as it could
If you hardly know Berlin’s work at all, or if you have a deeper appreciation of his discography than the average theatergoer, the high production value and reasonable price tag are sure to
But if you’re looking for a live revue of Irving Berlin’s Greatest Hits, well… this just isn’t it.
Andrew Andrews attended Cheek to Cheek: Irving Berlin in Hollywood at Theater at St. Jean’s in Manhattan on Sunday, November 28, 2021 @ 7:00pm to write this review.