Regardless of what you think about Woody Allen in his personal life, you have to admit the man is a genius when it comes to putting words to paper, and creating either a movie or a play. In the case of Bullets Over Broadway, he has done both.
The national touring company of Bullets just opened for a short run at the Academy of Music, through November 1, one of the Broadway Philadelphia offerings of the Kimmel Center. Susan Stroman, the Tony award-winning choreographer, teamed up with Allen to create sensational dance routines for a very talented cast.
The play, like the 1994 film by the same name, and it has the preposterous proposition that a mob boss wants to fund a Broadway show, provided his main squeeze, Olive, gets to play an important part in the show. Not that Olive has any experience as an actress, but she has ambition to get out of the chorus in the strip club where she has been “performing.”
Jemma Jane is absolutely delicious as the wannabe actress, with pipes to match her gorgeous figure. And her version of “The Hot Dog Song” brings down the house.
And then comes the altruistic young playwright, David, played by Michael Williams, who loses his altruism when the mob boss dangles funding for his show in front of him. He also forgets about his true love when he is thrown into company with the lovely and ego-maniacal diva Helen Sinclair, played by Emma Stratton.
However, it is Cheech, the mob boss’s lieutenant assigned to guard Olive in her new environment, who steals the show. Jeff Brooks, as Cheech, pays attention, not just to Olive, but to the whole enterprise, and he soon has suggestions for dialogue and plot that David is forced to confess make the show a lot better. But no one is allowed to know who the secret script doctor is.
The sets are fabulous, the costumes are gems, and the whole show has the audience humming and clapping like crazy. About 25 actors-singers-dancers participate in this production, and they are all Broadway-caliber. Do not miss it.