Joan Marcus
Adam Markovitz
April 27, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Current Status
In Season
run date
Matthew Broderick, Kelli O'Hara
Kathleen Marshall
Joe DiPietro, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin

We gave it a B

Nice Work If You Can Get It


If you’re not a musical-theater fan, Nice Work If You Can Get It will probably confirm your worst fears about Broadway. The mugging. The wigs. The wheezing one-liners. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall with a light-as-air book by Joe DiPietro (Memphis), the show uses a screwball love story between a Prohibition-era playboy (Matthew Broderick) and a bootlegger (Kelli O’Hara) as an excuse for a medley of classic George and Ira Gershwin tunes. It’s as joyfully airheaded and kitschy as a drag show, which should make it a must-see for anyone with a more-is-more stance on sequins.

For the rest of us, though, the musical flits between delightful and exasperating on a second-by-second basis — boosted by terrific supporting players (especially Judy Kaye as a zealous teetotaler) and dragged down by Broderick, who waltzes alongside his costars with the good-natured boredom of a tipsy wedding guest. Luckily for him, the show has a built-in fail-safe: the Gershwin songbook, a portable fireworks kit of dazzlers (“Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Do It Again”) guaranteed to charm just about anyone, theater fan or not. ( B

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