My One and Only                   

By Roz Friedman

Beautiful songs and lots of toe-tapping feet don’t always make a great show. This is the case of My One and Only.   Now at Goodspeed through June 25, it was originally cobbled together from other shows and produced on Broadway in 1983, starring Tommy Tune and Twiggy, who was quite a draw in those days. This may be the first of the juke-box shows; this one uses the gorgeous songs of George and Ira Gershwin like “‘S Wonderful,” “How Long Has This Been Goin’ On?” and my favorite, “Strike Up the Band.” But somehow in the hands of director Ray Roderick, they fall flat.

With all the smiling faces of the hard-working cast, there is something downright dispiriting about this exploration of the life in 1920’s. Swimming champions and flight were captivating the people. We are introduced to Captain Billy Buck Chandler, a great aviator who hails from the West and Edythe Herbert, an English girl who has swum the English Channel. 

Tony Yazbeck, obviously a wonderful dancer, expresses little charm in the role of Billy and Gabrielle Ruiz is harsh and too edgy as Edith. Neither of them presents any chemistry on stage. There are only two actors in this production who project personality across the footlights: Kirsten Wyatt is cute as Mickey, the unlikely grease monkey who takes care of Billy’s plane and loves him. The other is Alde Lewis, Jr. A protégé of Honey Coles, the great dancer, who was the star of the original, in the role of Mr. Magix, his smooth dancing and demeanor are a cut above anyone else on stage.

The second act was far better than the first, but even James Youmans’ set design does not impress. The one bright spot was the opening scene in the 2nd act. Entitled, “In the Swim,” it was light and airy.  My One and Only –a disappointment at Goodspeed. Next on the schedule –we are looking forward to Showboat, one of the greatest musicals ever written. It begins July 1- and runs all summer until Sept 11.         

This review originally aired on WMNR 88.1FM FINE ARTS RADIO

 

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