Wave your Flags for A Grand Old Cohan! GEORGE M Still Owns Broadway at WBT!Published: Monday, June 11, 2012 7:00 am By: John F. Bailey Source: Citizen Net Reporter
WPCNR Theatrical Review by John F. Bailey. June 9, 2012:
Westchester’s living “Hall of Fame” of musical theatre, Westchester Broadway Theatre staged a wallapaloosa revival of the 1968 Tony
Winner, George M last night in a solid, star-spangled Independence Day treat for the entire family.
George M is as big, brash and bold as George M. Cohan himself. This express of a musical takes you from vaudeville to modern Broadway Theatre is stopping in Elmsford only to July 1, so get your ducats now. You have no time to waste. Call now!
WBT has even brought back Mr. Cohan himself – the flying footed, hard- tapping, indefatigable, belting, brash, confident, swaggering, charismatic John Scherer who is George M himself. He has the persuasive chatter of the legendary showman: “It’s all true, but it’s going
to be,” he tells his landlady Mrs. Grimaldi (when he and his family are struggling to pay the rent). He's the bluster, the swagger, the spirit, the hope of America itself.
Mr. Scherer belts all the Cohan classics: from the signature Give My Regards to Broadway (above) when George M is heading to England to bet his all on his first real musical: Little Johnny Jones, to his patriotic spectaculars that never fail to lift the heaviest heart: You’re a Grand Old Flag, Over There, Yankee Doodle Dandy (composed after his breakup with his first wife), and his wonderful Irish duet with Jim Walton (who plays George’s father) in a mock fisticuffs number, Harrigan -- he best I've seen staged of that song.
Scherer brings the audience to a hush in the dramatic scene in Act II when, coaxed to come back to the stage late in life, he realizes the musical theatre he invented has changed.This is an aching, poignant moment. His moves of realization are just right, the audience feels his anguish as they feel his joy. Not many musical leading men can turn that believable schmaltz on…but he can. And the audience still goes home happy.
The choreography of Jonathan Stahl is consistently entertaining sold by the hardest- tapping, furiously footing stylish dance team in months (the raised stage platform which rises from the stage was trembling during the