By Robert Simonson
15 Nov 2013
Photo by Joan Marcus
A Bed and a Chair: A New York Love Affair, a unusual collaboration between musical theatre titan Stephen Sondheim and jazz musician-composer Wynton Marsalis, began its limited engagement at New York City Center Nov. 13. Directed by John Doyle, the Encores! special event starred Bernadette Peters, Norm Lewis and Jeremy Jordan, among others.
Opinions on the success of the experiment were split. USA Today was generally pleased, saying, "Under Marsalis' guidance, and that of conductor/music supervisor David Loud, the musicians all mine the playfulness, passion and poignance of the material." But the New York Times commented that, "In general, the mission of this diverting but very awkward special Encores! production, a collaboration between Encores! at City Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center, seems to be to unbutton and unbend the work of the greatest precisionist of all Broadway songwriters. And while I've heard individual cabaret performers successfully take a similar approach, this particular meeting of great talents rarely finds compelling common ground." And the New York Post called the execution "timid — even, at times, downright bland."
Second Stage's production of Little Miss Sunshine, the new musical comedy by William Finn and James Lapine, based on the 2006 road-trip comedy film of the same name, officially opened Off-Broadway Nov. 14.
While the critiques ranged from mildly good to mixed to bad, the general attitude of the reviews was one of disappointment.Continued...