Nice Work If You Can Get It
At The Ogunquit Playhouse
A new musical featuring the songs of George and Ira Gershwin, with dance numbers inspired by Busby Berekely and Fred Astaire, along with tear inducing comedy routines, and beautiful sets created by the team at the Ogunquit Playhouse with a superb cast all make for as fun a night of theatre as you will have.
Nice Work first appeared on Broadway in 2012. This run is directed by Larry Raben who collaborated with choreographer Peggy Hickey to build this production from scratch.
The most familiar names in the cast, Sally Struthers and Valerie Harper , both do a fine job in their roles as Duchess Estonia Dulworth, the founder of The Society of Dry Women, and Millicent Winter respectively. Ms Struthers, who returns to the Playhouse each season, sings, dances, and even swings from a chandelier.
The play is set in Prohibition Era New York, and the leads Amanda Lea LaVergne as the swaggering bootlegger Billie Bendix and Joey Sorge as the not so terribly bright, but charming, wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter work wonderfully together. The scene where Billie Bendix sings the beautiful love song Someone To Watch Over Me while holding, loading, and cocking a shotgun is original and quite good. And then there is the spanking scene that brought down the house. You have to be there for that one.
“James Beaman as Cookie McGee who poses as the butler at the Winter estate while working with the gang to smuggle hooch almost steals the show with his wisecracking voice and superb timing.”
James Beaman as Cookie McGee who poses as the butler at the Winter estate while working with the gang to smuggle hooch almost steals the show with his wisecracking voice and superb timing. George S. Kaufman would have signed him up after seeing this performance. Of course, in order to deliver great lines an actor has to have them, and there are certainly plenty of them in this play such as when McGee cracks “I’m not going back to prison because it means spending more time with my family.”
McGee cracks “I’m not going back to prison because it means spending more time with my family.”
Sally Struthers is a very strong presence on stage who can say more with a look then many performers can say with an entire monologue; however, she has met her match in Mr. Beaman who never misses a beat.
It is refreshing to see a new production in this era of commodity musicals. While Nice Work would be successful just as a song and dance piece, it is side splittingly funny, so funny in fact that at times the cast members struggle to contain themselves. It is a pleasure to watch a play where the actors are having as much fun performing as the audience is watching it.
I often praise the shows at the Ogunquit Playhouse and there is a good reason for that, they are consistently good. Some are better then others and I have my favorites. Nice work If You Can Get It is now up near the top of my list. You will not be disappointed if you see this. What you will do is leave the theater smiling and humming a tune. I just may go see it again.
Nice Work If You Can Get It at the Ogunquit Playhouse, Ogunquit, ME through August 15th. For information call 207.646.5511 or go to ogunquitplayhouse.org
Brenda Vaccaro will step into the role of Millicent Winter
Academy Award nominated film star Brenda Vaccaro will step into the role of Millicent Winter in the production of Nice Work If You Can Get It now playing on the Ogunquit Playhouse stage through August 15. Valerie Harper, who had been performing in the role, continues to rest after falling ill on July 29. Ms. Vaccaro will take the stage for the 8PM
performance on Tuesday, August 4, and through the end of the run.
“Valerie is feeling great right now and we want her to continue to rest and to enjoy her family. After discussing with them, we decided that we wanted to relieve her of any pressure of having to return to the show, which only runs for two more weeks. With Valerie’s blessing, the Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce that Brenda Vaccaro, star of film, television and stage, has arrived in Ogunquit to take over the role of Millicent Winter,” stated Executive Artistic Director Bradford Kenney.
Brenda Vaccaro is considered to be one of our nation’s most respected actresses. She has received an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe Award, the People’s Choice Award, and the Theater World Award. In addition, she has been honored with two Academy Award nominations, five Tony Award nominations, and numerous Emmy Award nominations.