Book and Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, Music by Burton Lane; Directed by Charlotte Moore
Off Broadway, Musical Revival
Runs through 8.12.18
Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street
by Lexi Orphanos on 7.8.18
Criag Waletzko, Florrie Bagel, Melissa Errico, Daisy Hobbs, and William Bellamy in
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
BOTTOM LINE: The feel-good On a Clear Day You Can See Forever features a playful ensemble serving just the right amount of sugar to complement theories on human consciousness.
In Charlotte Moore’s new adaptation of Lane & Lerner’s On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Melissa Errico shines as a twofold character far from your typical ingenue. Daisy Gamble (Errico) is a brassy New York woman struggling to get by. She can’t keep a job or a date, and often finds her smoking habit to be the culprit that curtails both. Despite her shortcomings, she has incredible talents that she often chalks up to luck. For example, her plants grow remarkably fast, she knows that the telephone will ring before it happens, and can help find lost items that haven’t yet been announced as missing.
Determined to kick her cigarette cravings to the curb, Daisy finds herself in the office of Dr. Mark Bruckner (Stephen Bogardus), respected in his field for conducting awe-inspiring experiments with hypnosis. While practicing regression therapy to get to the root of her smoking habit, a persona predating Daisy’s body comes forth: the divine Melinda Welles, complete with posh British accent. Taken with this finding, Dr. Bruckner requests that Daisy return daily to continue their research, all the while keeping Melinda a secret from her. Similar to the pairing of Eliza Doolittle (a previous role of Errico's) and the tenacious Henry Higgins, the two share banter and struggles that call both tenderness and ethics into question. In a fantastical sense, what do you do when the “one that got away” never lived in your lifetime? And, professionally, when does a love of learning become an obsession that is much more sinister?
Scenic and projection designer James Morgan creates a world of wonderful plasticity. Original projections in watercolor shift the environment from Manhattan street corner to old English drawing room. By opting for projections that are resonant of a children's book, the magic of the play remains viable. There are no strings or wild feats in the name of theatrical realism, and this allows the joys of the plot to continue riding higher and higher.
In chewing over On a Clear Day You Can See Forever’s title, perhaps the meaning is that, in Daisy’s case, one can truly see forever; she is psychic, with reaches into both past and future. Or perhaps this is resonant of a more psychedelic optimism connecting truth and exposure to varying wishes for success, indeed seeing one’s “forever” laid out before them. Regardless, this feel-good musical remains as good for your spirit as a drive through the country or an ice cream on a summer day. Errico and the entire ensemble are a warm-toned delight to experience, better enjoyed in the intimate Irish Repertory house than on a booming Broadway stage (the last New York revival, in 2011), where the cast’s many subtle charms would be lost.
(On a Clear Day You Can See Forever plays at the Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street, through August 12, 2018. Running time is 2 hours with an intermission. Performances are Wednesdays at 3 and 8; Thursdays at 7; Fridays at 8; Saturdays at 3 and 8; and Sundays at 3. Tickets are $70 ($50 rear seating). For tickets and more information call 212-727-2737 or visit irishrep.org.)
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever has a book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Burton Lane. Adapted and Directed by Charlotte Moore. Musical Direction by John Bell. Choreography by Barry McNabb. Scenic Design and Projection Art by James Morgan. Costume Design by Whitney Locher. Lighting Design by Mary Jo Dondlinger. Sound Design by M. Florian Staab. Projection Design by Ryan Belock. Conductor is Gary Adler. Orchestrations by Josh Clayton. Properties by Deb Gaouette. Hair by Robert-Charles Vallance. Production Stage Manager is Arthur Atkinson. Assistant Stage Manager is Rebecca C. Monroe. Associate Choreographer is Tara Forseth.
The cast is Florrie Bagel, William Bellamy, Stephen Bogardus, Rachel Coloff, Peyton Crim, John Cudia, Melissa Errico, Caitlin Gallogly, Matt Gibson, Daisy Hobbs, and Craig Waletzko.