Over the weekend my wife and I went to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater and caught a performance of the musical Bullets Over Broadway. Based on Woody Allen’s 1997 hit film the musical is a bit of an oddity. It’s a rare Broadway musical that does not have an original score. Instead, the creators recycled classic period tunes by greats like Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn, Hoagy Carmichael and others adding fresh lyrics.
Considering Woody adapted his own screenplay, co-written by Douglas McGrath, the laughs in the stage version are not as plentiful as one would have anticipated. On the plus side, there are two excellent performances by Jemma Jane as Olive and Jeff Brooks as Cheech, respectively portrayed in the film by Jennifer Tilly and Chazz Pamintieri. Also, Susan Stroman’s original choreography was superbly recreated by Clara Cook.
Overall, Bullets Over Broadway does not reach the high levels of classic musical comedy that Mel Brooks brought in bringing his works, The Producers and Young Frankenstein, to the stage. Still, it remains an enjoyable evening of entertainment.