The musical recently picked up nine Outer Critics Circle nominations, the most of any production of the season.
The show's story was inspired by the Gershwins' tuneful 1926 musical Oh, Kay!, which premiered at the same theatre where Nice Work has set up shop — the Imperial. The songs "Someone to Watch Over Me" and "Do, Do, Do" are the hold-overs from that score. DiPietrio ( Memphis) told Playbill.com that in creating the show at the invitation of the Gershwin estate, he and director-choreographer Kathleen Marshall were told he could use any song they wished from the songwriters' catalog — except numbers from Porgy and Bess.
(This is the second Gershwin show on Broadway at the moment; Porgy and Bess, by the brothers and Dubose and Dorothy Heyward, and Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre L. Murray, is playing the Richard Rodgers Theatre.)
DiPietro used the plot of Oh, Kay! as a jumping off point, he said. New characters and situations have been created for Nice Work, the score of which includes such "Sweet and Lowdown," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "Someone to Watch Over Me," "I've Got to Be There," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "Do It Again," "'S Wonderful," "Fascinating Rhythm," "But Not for Me," "Looking For a Boy," "Blah, Blah, Blah," "I've Got a Crush on You," "They All Laughed" and the lesser-known "By Strauss," "Treat Me Rough" — and the downright obscure "Demon Rum," "Delishious" and "Will You Remember Me?," plus other numbers and instrumental pieces.
Nice Work If You Can Get It has its roots in an earlier show by DiPietro called They All Laughed, seen at Goodspeed Opera House. The piece has been overhauled since then. Read Playbill.com's recent interview with DiPietro. Previews began March 29. "Very few actors have [ Matthew Broderick's] light comic touch," Marshall told Playbill.com recently, in between rehearsals. "And, you know, he's such a fan of old movies, and he can quote just about anything, and he can imitate anybody, so he totally understands the style of this kind of show."
O'Hara and Broderick aren't known as dance stars, but that doesn't mean they don't dance. "Matthew and Kelli are going to surprise people because they do a lot of choreography and a lot of partnering," Marshall said.
|photo by Jan Marcus|
Three-time Tony winner Marshall ( The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town, Anything Goes) directs a cast that includes Tony winner Broderick ( Brighton Beach Memoirs, The Producers, How to Succeed in Business…) as much-married playboy Jimmy Winter and Tony nominee O'Hara ( South Pacific, The Pajama Game, The Light in the Piazza) as streetwise Billie Bendix, plus Academy Award winner Estelle Parsons ("Bonnie and Clyde," Broadway's August: Osage County) as Jimmy's rich, business-owner mother Millicent Winter; Tony Award winner Judy Kaye ( The Phantom of the Opera) as prohibitionist Estonia Dulworth; Tony Award nominee Michael McGrath ( Spamalot) as bootlegger Cookie McGee; Tony Award nominee Jennifer Laura Thompson as heiress Eileen Evergreen; Chris Sullivan as rumrunner Duke Mahoney; Robyn Hurder as vamp Jeannie Muldoon; Stanley Wayne Mathis as Police Chief Berry and Terry Beaver as Senator Max Evergreen.
The cast also includes Cameron Adams, Clyde Alves, Kaitlyn Davidson, Jason DePinto, Kimberly Faure, Robert Hartwell, Stephanie Martignetti, Barrett Martin, Michael X. Martin, Adam Perry, Jeffrey Schecter, Jennifer Smith, Joey Sorge, Samantha Sturm, Kristen Beth Williams and Candice Marie Woods.
Nice Work If You Can Get It is produced on Broadway by Scott Landis, Roger Berlind, Sonia Friedman Productions, Roy Furman, Standing CO Vation, Candy Spelling, Freddy DeMann, Ronald Frankel, Harold Newman, Jon B. Platt, Raise The Roof 8, Takonkiet Viravan, William Berlind/Ed Burke, Carole L. Haber/Susan Carusi, Jim Herbert/Mauro-Firemused, Buddy and Barbara Freitag/Sanford Robertson.
The production features scenic design by Derek McLane, costume design by Martin Pakledinaz, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski and sound design by Brian Ronan. The music supervisor is David Chase, and the music director is Tom Murray.
The Imperial is at 249 W. 45th Street. Tickets are available through Telecharge.com and by calling (212) 239-6200, and in person at the Imperial.
Tickets range in price from $136.50 to $46.50 (all prices include a $1.50 facility fee). Premium seating is available.
This is not the first time that modern writers have crafted a new book musical using old Gershwin songs. My One and Only (1983 Best Musical Tony nominee) and Crazy for You (1992 Best Musical Tony winner) were popular on Broadway and on tour (and are now licensed around the world).
View highlights from the production: