“110 in the Shade”

Studio 54, New York • 14 July 2007 • 2pm
Book by N. Richard Nash, based on his play, The Rainmaker. Music by Harvey Schmidt. Lyrics by Tom Jones.

Directed by Lonny Price. Music Direction by Paul Gemignani. With Audra McDonald (Lizzie Curry), Steve Kazee (Starbuck), Christopher Innvar (File), John Cullum (H. C. Curry), Chris Butler (Noah Curry), Bobby Steggert (Jimmy Curry), Carla Duren (Snookie)…

I’d already seen a production of 110 in the Shade at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA a few years ago and I’d enjoyed it tremendously. The show has a strong book (adapted from his own play by the original author, which always bodes well) and an enchanting Schmidt & Jones score.

This production boasts two more assets: the strong directorial touch of Lonny Price and a star turn if ever there was one by the irresistible and obscenely talented Audra McDonald. Not that the rest of the cast aren’t great; everybody gives a first-class performance.

Starbuck’s “Rain Song” has always been a favourite of mine — one of those songs that I turn to when I need to be cheered up. To hear it in such ideal conditions was a superlative thrill.

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