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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TRIUMPH OF LOVE

Frothy Broadway musical comedy romps don’t get any frothier than the frothy Broadway musical comedy romp Triumph Of Love, a fact made amply clear last night by Musical Theatre Guild’s one-performance-only concert staged reading of the 1997 gem.
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SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS

There’s nothing at all sweet about the sleazy, smarmy, downright despicable protagonist of Sweet Smell Of Success, the Broadway musical adaptation of the 1957 Burt Lancaster/Tony Curtis pic, which may well be the main reason the 2002 John Lithgow-starrer flopped, the last of its mere 109 performances (plus 18 previews) less than two weeks after Lithgow won a Best Actor Tony.
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BUSKER ALLEY

RECOMMENDED

A pair of stellar lead performances, a topnotch supporting cast, and direction by the musical’s original leading lady bring out the best in the never-made-it-to-Broadway Busker Alley, Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Reading Series 2013-14 season closer. Still, despite some terrific Sherman Brothers songs, it’s hard to become invested in the story of as sad sack a lead character as street entertainer Charlie Baxter, even as played with abundant pizzazz by triple-threat extraordinaire James Leo Ryan.
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THE GOODBYE GIRL

Sunday’s delightful “family-affair” concert staged reading of the 1993 Broadway flop The Goodbye Girl made it abundantly clear why, despite a stellar pedigree, the Neil Simon-Marvin Hamlisch-David Zippel musical was not destined for a long life on The Great White Way, yet proved a perfect choice for Musical Theatre West’s One-Night-Only Reiner Reading Series.
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CITY OF ANGELS

If ever there were a Broadway musical that would seem to lend itself less to being performed as a concert staged reading, it would probably be City Of Angels, and yet wonder of wonders, the Tony-winning Best Musical of 1989 has within less than ten months, served as the basis of not one but two concert staged readings, both of them absolutely inspired.
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RUTHLESS! THE MUSICAL

The Bad Seed met Gypsy met All About Eve met Mame met a tickled-to-death audience of musical theater lovers on Sunday as Musical Theatre Guild presented their latest, a one-night-only concert staged reading of the murderously funny cult off-Broadway spoof Ruthless! The Musical.
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CARNIVAL


Bob Merrill and Michael Stewart’s 1961 hit Carnival may have run a healthy 719 performances on Broadway, but unlike its fellow early-’60s Tony winners The Sound of Music, Gypsy, Bye Bye Birdie, How to Succeed .., Funny/Forum, and Oliver!, regional revivals of Carnival have been few and far between, hence its inclusion in Musical Theatre West’s Reiner Reading Series as a one-night-only concert staged reading, one that reminded those in attendance on Sunday that even forgotten Broadway gems have much to offer.
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