Saturday, March 19, 2011

Did NYT's Charles Isherwood Actually Sing Along At The End of "Where's Charley"? By Jove, We Think He Did.

In the last paragraph of theater critic Charles Isherwood's gushing review of "Where's Charley?" this morning came this confession:

And in the key role of Charley, Mr. McClure scampers to and fro with tireless energy, flouncing in and out of his skirts with comic verve, employing a funny, pinched falsetto when Charley is impersonating his aunt. The most famous song in Loesser’s score — really the only famous one — is “Once in Love With Amy,” credited with saving the musical’s fortunes during an uneasy out-of-town tryout, when Bolger invited the audience to sing along.

As performed (and led) by Mr. McClure, a nimble dancer and terrific singer, it naturally brings the show to a genial, mildly intoxicating climax. Normally I find the invitation to sing along about as appealing as a date with the dental surgeon. On this rare occasion, I found it almost impossible to resist.

This doesn't quite top Frank Rich's now-legendary 1987 leap onto the stage of "Starlight Express" in roller skates, but we're still impressed.


Moe said...

Poor guy, he's forced to sit through clinical-grade spectacles and profess his love of it too! At least he's showing he didn't totally black out and sings on demand.

Anonymous said...

He wrote: I found it ALMOST impossible to resist.

Wouldn't he have written:
I FOUND it impossible to resist -- if he had indeed sung along?

Jake said...

He might have sung, without total inhibition to resist the singing urge. Then again, maybe he didn't sing out loud, though he might've sang along in his head.

Anyway, he was hearing the singing, since the song was being sung. It's worth spending a great deal of effort getting to the heart of whether he sang or didn't sing. By Jove, the NYTpick thinks he did. That's quite something. But it's not absolute proof that Charles sang along at the end of "Where's Charley."

Percy Peggerfield said...

The noise of today might get compounded as tomorrow's dogma. So why make it if you can avoid it? There is no electronic record of Charles Isherwood singing or even inaudibly humming along. And the suggestion that the performer was actively welcoming audiance participation (beyond applause, infectious chuckles, and laughter) remains bloody unsubstantiated. Inviting the common Man to speak up in a crowded theatre begets a cruel citing for manipulative solicitation. Try it yourself, and see how instantly you are met with a chipper chorus reacting (in accordance with their automated design) with vulgar barks, enraged grunts, agitated looks, irritated hissing, pent up kicking, all in all frustrated-for-a-living peons however smartly coiffed or catalog-plugged.