Bullets Over Broadway, the musical version of Woody Allen’s Oscar-winning 1994 film comedy, is now playing the St. James Theater. The plot, set in the 1920s, follows David Shayne, a playwright forced to cast a mobster’s talent-free girlfriend in order to get his show produced. During rehearsals he discovers Cheech, the mobster’s brutal henchman, is a born dramatist who secretly rewrites the show during rehearsals. Here are five reasons to shimmy down to the St. James and see Bullets Over Broadway.
Woody Allen’s hilarious script
Though Allen has had several plays — including Play It Again, Sam, Don’t Drink the Water, The Floating Light Bulb, and Writer’s Block — produced on and Off-Broadway, this is the first stage musical with which he has been involved. The filmmaker’s signature zaniness prevails with insane backstage antics, witty gags and crazy situations only he could dream up.
Susan Stroman’s sleek direction and choreography
Five-time Tony winner Stroman creates wildly imaginative staging and dances. She has the tough-as-nails Cheech lead a sizzling tap number, a bevy of chorus girls parade around in tiger costumes, and Olive, the squeaky-voiced gangster’s moll, cavort with a chorus of hot dogs.
A nostlagic score
The score is filled with vintage songs from the period of the show including “Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do,” “I’m Sitting on Top of the World,” “Let’s Misbehave,” and the crazy big finale, “Yes, We Have No Bananas.”
A dynamite cast
Zach Braff as David displays a charming singing voice, Marin Mazzie is hiliariously over the top as diva Helen Sinclair, Tony nominee Nick Cordero as Cheech menaces with dexterity, Helene York’s Olive is comically clueless, Betsy Wolfe as David’s girlfriend belts several numbers, and Brooks Ashmanskas, Karen Ziemba, Lenny Wolpe, and Vincent Pastore provide sturdy support.
A dazzling physical production
Tony winning designers William Ivey Long (costumes) and Santo Loquasto (sets) recreate the glamour and dazzle of the Roaring Twenties in lavish nightclubs and theaters, as well as seedy back alleys and lonely riverbeds where the gangsters do some dirty work.