This new musical comedy, a Big Broadway rewrite of the 1959 classic movie, Some Like it Hot, offers fabulosity: huge production numbers, flashy costumes, marvelous tap dancing, and many loud, brassy songs. It also offers enjoyable performances by Christian Borle, J. Harrison Ghee, Adrianna Hicks, and the mighty voice of NyTasha Yvette Williams. And many many talented others, plus a live band.
What the show doesn’t offer is anything like the sophistication of the movie, and of course it doesn’t have Marilyn Monroe in all her gorgeous, braless vulnerability, as well as the masterful comedy of Tony Curtis in mock-Cary Grant mode and the wonderful frenzied panic of Jack Lemmon. Rather than updating, the show has been downdated, giving audiences plenty of wholesomeness to cheer for, but missing the charm and wink and shock of its last line: after Jerry whips off his wig and tells his suitor Joe E. Lewis “You can’t marry me. I’m a man!” comes the perfect reply: “Nobody’s perfect.”
The two guys are, in the new show, still on the run from a gangster, having accidentally witnessed the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, and thus their disguises as women in an all-girl band. But Jerry (Ghee) discovers he likes being Daphne, and Ghee’s performance of his new identity is both delightful and moving: “Daphne is free. Daphne is the best part of me.” It’s also corny, as the song “Fly, mariposa, fly” underlines.
The direction and choreography are by Casey Nicholas, with music by Marc Shaiman who, with Scott Whitman wrote the lyrics. Some of the songs are fun, some sentimental, with production numbers that sometimes go on too too long. Some Like it Hot a good time if you don’t mind spending a couple of hours in an irony-free zone.
[Shubert Theater, 225 W 44th St, New York, NY] somelikeithotmusical.com