Hit or Miss

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

As a fan of David Yazbek and the original film, I’ve been looking forward to the new musical version of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. But video footage from the open press rehearsal left me worrying about atonal music and weak lyrics. And how can you replace Michael Caine and Steve Martin?

Jeff and I saw the fourth preview last night and I’m happy to report the show had the entire audience in stitches. Norbert Leo Butz knows no shame and John Lithgow, who I don’t usually care for, was appropriately pompous. Joanna Gleason was at her driest and should easily snag the Supporting Tony.

I don’t think Yazbek’s music was as melodically strong as his score for The Full Monty (or his pop songs), but his lyric writing was spot-on and delightfully crass. From what I can remember, John Lithgow’s final solo is the same dull song that I heard Patrick Wilson introduce at Yazbek’s concert two summers ago (but the audience seemed to like it).

This will definitely be the show that Spamalot has to beat at the Tonys (Jeff and I are seeing it on February 16, so I’ll be able to better handicap the competition afterwards).

P.S. Joan Rivers sat across the aisle from us. We also saw her at DOG SEES GOD, which Jeff and I loved too, so I’m thinking she has pretty good taste in theatre (if not fashion). The woman behind us said she spotted Harvey Weinstein, head of Miramax, who’s one of the producers. And I’m pretty sure Steve Martin was up in the front box (Jeff disagrees).

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I saw a little bit of this in San Diego prior to opening and the music, while fun, sounded a lot like Full Monty reprises, shades of “Scrap”, “Big Ass Rock” and “The Goods”. I look forward to seeing the B’way incarnation. As for Spamalot, it’s a hell of a lot of fun and my prediction is that it pounds the hell out of DRS. A shame, too, since I’d like to see Norby taking home a Tony medal.

TheBrad | 4 Feb 2005