BULLETS OVER BROADWAY Supplies Rip-Roaring 1920s Fun
There’s not much plot to speak of in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, but here’s a preview. Set in New York City, the musical focuses on the struggling young playwright David Shayne (Michael Williams) and his girlfriend Ellen (Hannah Rose DeFlumeri). At the top of the show, the producer Julian Marx (Rick Grossman) tells David he’s finally found a financial backer willing to take his latest play to Broadway—the mob leader Nick Valenti (Michael Corvino). The catch? Valenti wants his talentless young lover Olive (Jemma Jane, who’s so very good at playing such a bad actor) to have a leading role. And she must be accompanied at all times by one of Valenti’s henchmen, Cheech (a hilarious turn by Jeff Brooks, who’s also a swell vocalist and dancer). The show also introduces the other performers in David’s play, including the aging diva Helen Sinclair (Emma Stratton, every inch the star with the powerhouse voice to match). Helen and Olive are joined onstage by seasoned Broadway actor Warner Purcell (Bradley Allan Zarr), who is far more interested in taking advantage of craft services (and making eyes at Olive) than acting, and the loony Eden (Rachel Bahler), who brings a stuffed dog with her everywhere she goes. When David’s play starts to fall apart in rehearsal, Cheech surprisingly chimes in with some suggestions. And with this eccentric cast of characters, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY plays out as a chaotic, swinging good time.
The dancing in BULLETS OVER BROADWAY remains sublime throughout, and the work of the male tap dancers is particularly notable here. While the entire ensemble tears up the floor with precision and many a physical stunt, the tap break in “T’aint Nobody’s Business If I Do” is a simply exhilarating moment in the first act. The execution of the musical’s choreography adds a memorable element to the less inspired narrative.
If you’re looking for toe-tapping theatrical pleasure, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY is just the ticket.
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY runs through May 1 at the PrivateBank Theatre, 18 West Monroe Street. Tickets can be purchased online at BroadwayinChicago.com or in-person at any Broadway in Chicago Box Office.
Photo by Matthew Murphy
Read the original review on Perform.Ink.