USA Today Gives "On the 20th Century" Four Stars

USA Today Gives

Broadway musical On the 20th Century may be a revival, but the show "could easily be mistaken as a custom Chenoweth vehicle, tailor-made to accommodate her unique combination of talents" says USA Today. Read the review below and click here to see the article online from USA Today!

'Century' a grand vehicle for Chenoweth

NEW YORK — When the Cy Coleman/Betty Comden/Adolph Green musical On the Twentieth Century opened on Broadway in February 1978,Kristin Chenoweth was not yet 10 years old. Yet in Roundabout Theatre Company's fizzy, fabulous new revival (four out of four stars), the show could easily be mistaken as a custom Chenoweth vehicle, tailor-made to accommodate her unique combination of talents. Set in the early '30s, Century follows Lily Garland, née Mildred Plotka, a gawky pianist-turned-glamorous stage star-turned-fussy Hollywood diva, on a luxury coach from Chicago to New York. The role was introduced on Broadway by Madeline Kahn, one of Chenoweth's heroines; months later, after Kahn departed the production, Lily launched the career of Judy Kaye, who impressed critics with her wide, fluid, operatic singing voice and comic prowess. Chenoweth brings to Lily, along with those requisites, the girlish goofiness, feline sexuality and gleaming, chirping soprano — higher and brighter than Kaye's — that have made her one of her generation's most distinctive musical theater talents. At 46, Chenoweth lends both an ingenue's exuberance and a knowing wit to production numbers that require her to juggle virtual arias with hyperkinetic dance routines. Yet while Lily may well be the role of Chenoweth's career, this Century, which opened Sunday at the American Airlines Theatre, is by no means her triumph alone. In this production, directed with giddy virtuosity by Scott Ellis, every player seems perfectly cast — starting with the leading man, Peter Gallagher, whose recent struggle with a sinus infection delayed the opening by a few days. If Gallagher hadn't made a full recovery by a preview performance several nights ago, you certainly couldn't tell. His voice and presence robust, his comic timing flawless, the actor made all the arrogance and desperation of his character — Lily's flamboyant mentor and former lover, the now-bankrupt theater producer Oscar Jaffe — delightfully entertaining. As Oscar pursues Lily on the train, hoping to persuade her to work with him again, his biggest obstacle is her new beau, an aspiring young actor and preening peacock named Bruce Granit. Bruce is played by a hilarious Andy Karl, who last flexed his muscles in the title role of last season's musical Rocky. Here, Karl applies his athletic prowess to physical comedy, and reveals this particular he-man as an effete buffoon to sidesplitting effect. The ever-reliable Mark Linn-Baker and Michael McGrath are predictably winning as Oscar's long-suffering colleagues, and Mary Louise Wilson is given an inspired turn as a pious old lady on board who may either be a tycoon or a lunatic. Though that covers the principals, other stars emerge, thanks in part to Warren Carlyle's meticulous, intoxicating choreography. Dancers Phillip Attmore, Rick Faugno, Drew King and Richard Riaz Yoder pop up regularly as porters and have a particularly dazzling moment in a tap routine following the entr'acte. It's one of the numerous times this Twentieth Century makes old-fashioned musical comedy magic feel entirely fresh.
  Tickets for On the 20th Century are available now!