Kedar K. Adour

Performing Arts Reviews

NO, NO NANETTE is a Yes, Yes, Yes at the Eureka Theatre.


No, No, Nanette. Music by Vincent Youmans. Lyrics by Irving Caesar and Otto Harbach. Book by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel. Adapted by Burt Shevelove. Director: Cindy Goldfield. 42nd Street Moon, 215 Jackson Street in San Francisco, CA. (415) 255-8207 or online at April 26-May 14, 2017.

NO, NO NANETTE is a Yes, Yes, Yes at the Eureka Theatre. Rating: ★★★★★

The new management for 42nd Street Moon has not only maintained the quality of previous years they produced a show matching any previous best. The opening night of the 92 year old musical comedy No, No Nanette was bright, refreshing and attractive earning a standing ovation. Yes it is a humorous tongue in cheek plot made enjoyable by being studded with great songs, top notch singing and dancing with an on stage quartet band to complement the action.

In 1925 No, No, Nanette started out in Chicago, traveled to London’s West End before reaching Broadway for a respectable run of over 300 performances. A series of movies then followed before a 1971 revival with Ruby Keller, Patsy Kelly, Jack Guilford, Bobby Van, Helen Gallagher and Susan Watson as Nanette.  It ran for two years winning Four Tony Awards.

The fun starts with a burst of energy by the female ensemble with a song and dance “Flappers are We” setting the tone and the era of the story line. The energy and laughs never let up except for the inevitable love story with marvelous ballads beautifully sung by the romantic leads. The Nanette of the title (Samantha Rhodes) is young unsophisticated ward of the wealthy married Jimmy and Sue Smith (Michael Patrick Gaffney and Lee Ann Payne) who have brought her up as proper young lady often admonishing her with “No, No, Nanette.” Jimmy is a pussy cat with a heart of gold always, “I Want to be Happy” ‘but I can’t be happy unless I make you happy too.’  The generous Jimmy has made three women of questionable reputation platonically happy by spreading some of his wealth, earned by printing Bibles, around. Billy Early (Mark Farrell), Jimmy’s lawyer is assigned the task of untangling the extramarital “affairs” before Sue finds out. Billy’s wife Lucille (Abby Haug) is Sue’s best friend and has a charming song “Too Many Rings Around Rosie.” The male romantic lead Tom Trainor (Andrew Mondello) is Billy’s assistant and has the plaintive “I’ve Confessed to the Breeze” to express his love for Nanette.
Nanette is set on having her fling in Atlantic City and easily cons the maid Pauline (Maureen McVerry) to be her chaperone. The final major characters are the three “Happies’’Winnie, Betty and Flora (Danielle Cheiken, Samantha Pistoresi and Andrea St. Clair) who are also integral to the ensemble. They have their turn on center stage in act two with “The Three Happies” and with Jimmy in “Fight Over me.”

Enough can’t be said about the ensemble with their energy in the multiple dance number including tap dancing.  In the opening of the second act at Atlantic City dressed in spiffy 1920s swim suits they enter the aisles to throw beach balls across the center section of the theatre.

Other songs include “No, No Nanette”, “Tea For Two”, “You Can Dance With Any Girl”, “Where-Has-My-Hubby-Gone’, “Waiting for You” and “Take a Little On-step.” Diminutive Samantha Rhodes has a beautiful voice and plays the ingénue to perfection and her duets with matinee idol type Andrew Mondello are charming. The super professional Mark Farrell and Maureen McVerry don’t miss a beat with their humor and Farrell shows off his professional singing and dancing almost, but not quite outdoing McVerry.

The creative team scores an A+ with choreography by Nicole Helfer, costumes to die for by Shelby Sparks and direction by local icon Cindy Goldfield. Music director Dave Dobrusky takes a well-earned bow as sliding panels’ part showing off the excellent musicians. Lighting and scenic designer Kevin August Landesman has created a simple set of sliding panels that leave the center stage free for the ensemble  of eight free to cut  a rug as the lighting creates atmosphere.

THE TEAM: Principals: Abby Haug (Lucille Early), Mark Farrell (Billy Early), Samantha Rose (Nanette),Andrew Mondello (Tom Trainor), Michael Patrick Gaffney (Jimmy Smith), Lee Ann Payne (Sue Smith), Maureen McVerry (Pauline), Andrea St. Clair (Flora Latham),Samantha Pistoresi (Betty Brown), and Danielle Cheiken (Winnie Winslow). Ensemble: Juan Castro, Derrick Contreras, Jean-Paul Jones, Mary Lauren, and Nathaniel Rothrock.

Director: Cindy Goldfield; Music Director: Dave Dobrusky; Choreographer: Nicole Helfer; Costume Designer: Shelby Pujol; Set/Light Designer: Kevin Landesman; Props Designer: Devon LaBelle.

If you love musical comedy this is a must see production. Running time about two hours an 10 minuts with an intermission.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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