Broadway has a new musical hit show based on an old familiar theme, a Jewish-gentile marriage. Reviews of It Shoulda Been You have been mixed, and Ben Brantley of The New York Times didn't like it, summing up his critique as ""Oy."
We haven't seen the show yet, but when it comes to Jewish themed productions, we tend not to see eye-to-eye with The New York Times, and look to other voices instead.
As Frank Scheck wrote in The Hollywood Reporter,
That old popular-comedy chestnut Abie's Irish Rose is given a modern twist in the new musical It Shoulda Been You, which plays like vintage dinner theater infused with a Borscht Belt sensibility. That it nonetheless manages to be truly amusing is a testament to the talent both on and offstage .
The plot concerns the impending nuptials of the Jewish Rebecca (Sierra Boggess) to the Catholic Brian (David Burtka), with family tensions inevitably rising to the fore. Rebecca's zaftig older sister Jenny (a charming Lisa Howard), while happy for her sis, wonders if she'll ever find similar happiness. Meanwhile, matriarchs Judy (Daly) and Georgette (Harris) are consistently at odds, with their hapless husbands (Chip Zien, Michael X. Martin) helplessly watching from the sidelines.In USA Today, Elysa Gardner wrote:
This new musical, this Broadway season's freshest and funniest to date, defies skepticism, both in its wacky humor and its big, buoyant heart. Book writer and lyricist Brian Hargrove and composer Barbara Anselmi have taken a familiar premise — that of lovers from different backgrounds uniting — and crafted something that is both endearingly old-fashioned in spirit and decidedly cIontemporary in execution.
Under the whip-smart direction of David Hyde Piece (Hargrove's husband), the 100-minute Shoulda Been can feel like a revival of some lost screwball classic. But Hargrove's hilarious lines, in song and dialogue, take liberties that wouldn't have flown back in the day. The bride's parents express their frustration in Yiddish, while the groom's mom confesses to vaguely inappropriate feelings for her son.
The message underlying this madness has to do with the importance of viewing others — as individuals, in families and relationships — with eyes wide open. And Pierce and his superb cast serve it with a delicacy befitting a fine soufflé.A couple of weeks ago the cast of It Shoulda Been You made an appearance on the Today show. Here's a video of that appearance that should give you a good idea of what it's all about.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)