Sunday, August 06, 2006

Musical à deux

The latest New Group production, Everythings Turning Beautiful, is an interestingly flawed musical—or is it a play with music? In any case, it deserved better than the snottily dismissive, largely padded review Ben Brantley delivered in the Times, if only because it at least attempts to integrate the songs in an organic way. It's true that Seth Zvi Rosenfeld's characters sometimes have to deliver purplish prose, but the musical interludes flow out naturally because Daphne Rubin-Vega and Malik Yoba play songwriters obsessed both with their crafts and their collaboration with each other; it feels completely right that they would perform for each other all the time. In addition, singing allows them to avoid actually talking about what's really on their mind. (Oink-oink moment: The leads both look great in their underwear.)

While Rubin-Vega's voice is rather frayed at this point (a scary prospect since she's slated to play Fantine in the upcoming revival of Les Miz), Yoba's is soulful in a restrained way, and he's a stage natural. Perhaps the Public should look in his direction next time it wants to put on an interesting Shakespeare.

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