See for yourself! This is the show's official reel, and the bear can be seen (in the arms of Matthew Broderick as Jimmy Winter) at about 1:31.
The musical is a remash of original 1920s and '30s Gershwin work--the book is based on an original Gershwin musical from 1926, and was written by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse (author of Wooster and Jeeves!)--but features a new book by Joe DiPietro (book for Memphis). DiPietro does a fabulous job giving the musical a period feel (bootleggers, a society wedding, and highjinks abound) but blends it with modern humor so it played extremely well in a full audience of very mixed ages.
Obviously, the flapper costumes, opening speakeasy/burlesque scene, and generally fabulous choreography caught my attention, but I also really enjoyed the story and how well it fit with the Gershwin score. There were some moments that felt delightfully 20s/30s (when the chorus girls appeared as bubbles from Eileen's bubble bath to join the song) and some that were more truly modern (actually, one of my favorite moments in the show: Kelli O'Hara as Billie sings "Someone to Watch Over Me" while guarding her bootlegged stash with a shotgun) but the whole show blended together into an entertaining adventure full of swinging brass, quicksteps, Charlestons, and rhinestones.
I'm a sucker for good music and a happy ending, but this really was the cure for end-of-semester stress. The artistic team really seemed to have a sense of the aesthetic of the period, and I definitely appreciated that. Obviously everything had a modern Broadway flair, but there were winks at the past that made it seem like this could almost have been a revival of a 30s Gershwin production.
|Summer Frocks, 1925|
I suppose this is all a really long-winded way of saying that I loved the show, I want to go dance in a speakeasy, and that if you are in the NYC area anytime soon try and see Nice Work!