Nice Work If You Can Get It
The musical that we chose was Nice Work If You Can Get It, directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall, starring Matthew Broderick and Kelli O’Hara. Originally it was expected to open on Broadway in the spring of 2009, with Harry Connick Jr and Erin Dilly as the leading roles. There were disagreements between members of the production team causing the show to be postponed and later reestablished with a new cast and some new production team members as well. Nice Work If You Can Get It is a new musical with old songs taken from George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin such as, “I’ve Got a Crush on You,” “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off,” and much more. This is a show set during the prohibition era in the 1920s’ where alcohol was made illegal under any circumstances. Jimmy Winter, a wealthy playboy, meets a rough female bootlegger, Billie Bendix, on the night of his nuptials. Jimmy is marrying his fourth wife Eileen, a self-obsessed dancer. Billie thought Jimmy would be out of town for a few days so she and her gang had planned to bring cases of alcohol to hide in the basement of Jimmy’s mansion on long island. Unexpectedly, Jimmy, Eileen, and Eileen’s family of prohibitionists show up at the mansion for the wedding. Billie and her gang must pose as servants until, Billie and Jimmy become very fond of each other and Jimmy is forced to make a decision between a self-obsessed dancer or a rugged bootlegger.
Nice Work If You Can Get It is set in the Imperial Theatre in New York City. The Imperial Theatre was built in 1923 with 1,650 seats, but later was sized down to seat 1,421 people. It was constructed to replace their outdated Lyric Theatre. It was the fiftieth playhouse that the Shubert brothers, from Syracuse, had built in the New York area. The design of the theatre was done by Herbert J. Krapp, with the idea to have it as a musical comedy house.Like many other Shubert theaters, the Imperial was done with Herbert Krapp’s trademark Adam-style. The recessed ceiling and ornamental panels along the walls are elaborately decorated with a number of motifs, including florals and geometrics. The rectangular auditorium is wider than it is deep, which allows most audience members to feel close to the stage and performers. Recently, the crew of Billy Elliot had to cut into the stage to create a trap door for their performance. We found that interesting because out of all the years this theatre has been here, not one show had to use a trap door.
The first show ever performed in the Imperial Theatre was Mary Jane McKane, featuring Mary Hay and Vincent Youmans. It opened on Christmas night in 1923 and lasted for 151 performances. The next show opened in September 1924, Rose Marie, which lasted for 557 performances and brought in the largest amount of money of the decade for the Imperial Theatre, making it one of this theatre’s most celebrated shows. September 19, 1928, opened an operetta, The New Moon, which surprisingly lasted for 297 performances during the stock market crash. In 1938, future film star Gene Kelly, made his first debut as a chorus boy in Cole Porter’s musical, Leave It To Me. Later in 1943, The Imperial Theatre held the longest run of Ziegfeld Follies ever with 553 performances. In 1955, Cole Porter’s last musical, Silk Stockings, before his death was performed. Moving forward, September 1964 had a huge hit with Fiddler on The Roof, which for some time was the longest running show on Broadway. Neil Simon created the longest running non-musical ever to be held in the Imperial Theatre called Chapter Two. In later years to come, Hugh Jackman made his Broadway debut in The Boy from Oz, winning a Tony award for best actor. Another highlight of this theatre was Les Miserables because it was a huge success and ran from 1990 through 2003. November 13, 2008, held Billy Elliot, with a score by Elton John and Lee Hall. This show won 10 Tony Awards and all three men alternating the role of Billy won...
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