Me and My Girl
Music by Noel Gray
Book and lyrics by Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose
Book revised by Steven Fry
with contributions by Mike Ockrent
42nd Street Moon
42nd Street Moon, champions of the art, spirit and preservation of musical theater, has outdone itself with this spirited production of Me and My Girl, a huge British and American hit. Conceived as a sequel to the highly successful Lupino Lane 1935 hit Twenty to One, the writers decided to capitalize on Lane’s comic characterization of the cockney layabout Bill Snibson. The show is a satire of high society mixed with Pygmalion references, and like its original production, is a star vehicle for Keith Pinto as Bill.
Everything shines is this production; Mindy Cooper’s deft direction and light as air choreography, the always excellent musical direction of Dave Dobrusky, Liz Martin’s fine period costumes, Brian Watson’s scenic design and David Lam’s lighting. There isn’t a weak link the ensemble with some fine supporting roles by Michael Patrick Gafney (Sir John Tremayne), Elsie Youssef (Lady Jacqueline Carstone), Millisa Carey (Maria, Duchess of Dene) and Daniel Thomas (The Hon. Gerald Bolingbroke).
The story follows our unlikely hero Bill, who discovers he’s an Earl and must adjust to life amongst the upper crust. He’s a bull in a china shop, crude and rude. Keith Pinto is a wonder to behold. A deft comic actor with serious dance skills, his performance is reminiscent of James Cagney’s Academy award-winning portrayal of George M. Cohan. We can all empathize with his situation, forced to give up his girl Sally, who could never fit in with the one percenters.
Melissa WolfKlain’s Sally Smith rivals Pinto step for step. She’s trapped between her love for her man and allowing him to achieve his birthright. Blessed with a beautiful voice, WolfKlain shines on ” “Take It On the Chin” and “Once You Lose Your Heart”. Like Pinto , her character will beat the odds and blossom into a well-mannered woman.
The score is lovely, with hits like “The Lambeth Walk”, “Leaning on a Lamppost” and “You Would If You Could”. The entire ensemble makes their hard work seem effortless. Me and My Girl is lighthearted, romantic comedy at its best.
Me and My Girl continues through May 20, 2018 at 42nd Street Moon, Gateway Theater, 215 Jackson Street. Tickets are available online at http://www.42ndstmoon.org or by calling 415-255-8207.
Photo credits by Ben Krantz Studio.