A CLASS ACT

Tony winner Edward Kleban had been gone for thirteen years when Broadway finally gave the songwriter his due (albeit for a scant 135 performances, previews included) in the biomusical A Class Act, the latest one-night-only concert staged reading from Musical Theatre Guild, and one that could scarcely have been improved upon.
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PAL JOEY

Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Reading Series has once again done what it does best—treat Broadway buffs to a one-night-only almost fully-staged revival of a show unlikely to get an extended MTW run—in this case Rodgers & Hart’s Pal Joey, which despite the unsympathetic characters who populate John O’Hara’s often unengaging book proves a showcase for a couple of R&H’s best known song classics (and for the triple-threats who perform them and many more).
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DO I HEAR A WALTZ?

If ever there were an ideal show for Musical Theatre Guild to revive, it is Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents’ Do I Hear A Waltz? Terrific songs. A book based on a successful play and movie. A couldn’t-be-more-romantic setting. Mixed reviews. Only 200 performances on Broadway. In short, a show you’re unlikely to see revived in any major sort of way any time soon.

Fortunately, thanks to MTG, L.A. audiences got treated to its many delights last night at Glendale’s historic Alex Theatre.
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BONNIE & CLYDE

Bonnie & Clyde may have featured as fine a score as any of its 2011-12 Broadway competitors (including Once and Newsies), but that didn’t stop critics from making sure that Frank Wildhorn’s latest musical bit the dust after a mere two months, previews included, just one reason SoCal audiences haven’t been granted the fully-staged professional production Bonnie & Clyde so richly deserves, just one reason Angelinos can rejoice that at the very least, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow returned to life last Sunday for one night only thanks to Musical Theatre Guild.
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ROAD SHOW


You’re unlikely to see a fully-staged local production of Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s twice-flopped Road Show any time soon, all the more reason for those in attendance yesterday at Musical Theatre Guild’s one-performance-only concert staged reading to count themselves lucky, particularly since the nearly fully-staged “reading” turned out quite spectacularly indeed under Richard Israel’s ever imaginative direction.
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HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

That go-getting whiz kid J. Pierpont Finch once again zipped his way up the corporate ladder this past Sunday as Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Reading Series dazzled yet again (and with a mere 25 hours of rehearsal) in their one-night-only concert staged revival of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.
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BABES IN ARMS

Here’s a thought for schools considering yet another production of Grease, Bye Bye Birdie, or High School Musical. How about having a go at the quintessential “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” show, Rodgers & Hart’s Babes In Arms, and not the “sanitized, de-politicized rewrite” that debuted in 1959 but the 1937 original, political incorrectness be damned. As anyone attending Sunday’s one-night-only Concert Staged Reading at Musical Theatre West can tell you, there’s not a funnier, dancier, or more gorgeously tuneful show for up-and-coming musical theater majors to show off their triple-threat talents than Babes In Arms 1.0.

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STEEL PIER

Though I’d be hard pressed to pick just one of the fifty concert staged readings reviewed here as the Absolute Best Concert Staged Reading Ever, I can’t recall a more spectacularly staged “reading” of a Broadway musical than last night’s Reiner Reading Series staging of Kander & Ebb’s Steel Pier.
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