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Review: 'Nice Work If You Can Get It' Offers Great Song And Dance, Not Much More


Think of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” as a fantasized vision of the 1920s through rose-colored glasses -- a sentimental tale of good-hearted bootleggers with names like Billie Bendix and Cookie McGee, peddling a clandestine stash of liquor. They seem more like naughty Boy Scouts than felons on the lam.

Soon the federal lawmen arrive, looking for the booze. We’re talking about syndicate bootleggers as they might be reimagined in some sort of Disney comedy... keep in mind that Disney makes a lot of money on Broadway nowadays.

But these scenes with goofy crooks always lead back into eye-popping dance routines, set to songs with dippy nonsense lyrics and a peppy Roaring 20s beat.

The dance numbers are an aerobic workout for the performers onstage, also for conductor Craig Barna, who sustains a torrid pace with his baton in the pit.

But the stars are the tap dancing chorus girls, zipping around in skimpy little outfits decorated with feathers and sequins, and not a whole lot else.

“Nice Work If You Can Get It” blends vintage Gershwin songs with a storyline straight out of a comic book, and while it’s lighthearted and nimble, it’s also short on surprises. This show could be compared to one of those modern record players that tries to look like an authentic Victrola from back in the day. Artistically, it often measures up to less than the sum of its appealing parts. But if you’re craving entertainment that’s fast and silly, and you enjoy Gershwin’s Broadway songs, it’s a pleasant way to pass a summer evening.

The Music Circus production of “Nice Work If You Can Get It” continues through Sunday, August 14, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento. 

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