Thu Apr 9 2009
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5
WISH UPON A STAR Stern imagines herself a movie icon.
Photograph: Carol Rosegg
Warning: Before seeing Being Audrey, the latest small-scale original musical from Transport Group, it might behoove you to rent the Audrey Hepburn films the show gently spoofs and pays homage to, so you'll fully appreciate the abundant internal references. Oh heck, while you're at it, maybe you should just stay home and watch Roman Holiday, Sabrina or Breakfast at Tiffany's. Because despite a tuneful score by Ellen Weiss that captures the splendor of the films and a spirited performance from Cheryl Stern (who contributed to the book and lyrics), the plot and characters are too thin to hang a little Givenchy black dress on.
Stern plays Claire Stark, a middle-aged New Yorker with her own enchanted life until her husband is rushed to the hospital. Unable to cope with possibly losing him, the devout Hepburn worshipper lets her imagination sweep her into five of the stylish star's fabulous films. Although Claire has much at stake, precious little of that plays out in James Hindman's book, because rather than face her problems, Claire escapes into her mind with "Fred " (Brian Sutherland), a fusion of her husband and Hepburn's leading men, and interacts with characters and situations from Hepburn films.
Valerie Fagan lends a supple voice to a couple of charming songs, while director Jack Cummings III lets his ensemble play with accents as they swoosh around hospital curtains. But the creative team may have forgotten that Hepburn's legacy endures not simply because she was beautiful but also because she was genuine. Being Audrey is just a contrivance.—Diane Snyder
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