George M! A prom night itís not, but a musical tribute history lesson, yes.

Published: Sunday, July 1, 2012 11:00 am By: Eugene Paul Source: TheatreScene.net
He was going to make them rich. And famous. He was going to put the Cohans on top of the world the only way he knew how: using his brains, his talents, his stick-to-it-iveness in the life he was born into. He would do anything to succeed, he charmed, he bullied, he lied, he pushed, pushed, pushed, never stopping working.You see a lot of that in the Westchester Broadway Theatre production of the Broadway hit show written by Michael Stewart, and John and Francine Pascal and it registers with many of the audience who know who George M. Cohan was. And is. Thereís a statue of him in the middle of Broadway in the Theater District. Not of anybody else in show business. John Scherer as
George is solid but uncomfortably aware that he is no George M. Cohan, super superstar. We feel his discomfort, grateful for the times he gets carried away and enjoys himself.


The rest of the cast is so busy changing costumes and keeping smiles and wigs in place we never quite get to know them, with the exception of
Jim Walton as Jeremiah, the patriarch of the Cohans. His quiet charm charms. Director Richard Stafford takes his period choreography seriously, leaving aside the impulse to invent perky little quirks whereas such inventions would be welcomed, Leo Carusoneís musical direction stays brisk, necessarily so, and John Farrellís main set piece, a vaudeville theater proscenium, acts harmoniously throughout the show. All kinds of credit must flow to the backstage crew who help the large, talented, hard-working cast change clothes so often and so swiftly for George M! A prom night itís not, but a musical tribute history lesson, yes.