- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell
There have never been enough George Gershwin musicals.
In the past decades new ones have been nailed together from his great music with plots that sometimes are better forgotten.
S’Wonderful, at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach under the auspices of Musical Theatre West, is the latest example in that line — some great songs (and some not-so-great). There is pure enjoyment if you love his songs, but, despite the fact that is advertised as a “new musical” (actually, it is five mini-musicals) there is not much more than a review.
And, maybe if it was just a review it might have fared better. Devised by Ray Roderick, S’Wonderful features five lively and winning singers in front of a seven-piece jazz combo led by Musical Director Bret Simmons, with choreography by Charlie Williams.
Those five performers include Rebecca Johnson, Damon Kirsche, Ashley Fox Linton, Jeff Skowron and Rebecca Spencer, who sing and dance their way with charm through some of the Gershwins’ greatest hits, such as, “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “I’ve Got Rhythm” and “Embraceable You” and few lesser known, like “By Strauss” and “Boy What Love Has Done to Me.”
The jazz is delicious, many songs are delightful, but the entire show would have been better without the intrusive and distracting plots.
Tickets are $17 to $85. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m., through April 20. There is no performance Thursday, April 10.