The Landing: in brief
Composer John Kander's legendary 50-year collaboration with lyricist Fred Ebb ended with Ebb's death in 2004. Now the 86-year-old Kander teams for the first time with a new word man—Greg Pierce, age 34—for three one-acts on related themes. Walter Bobbie (Chicago) directs a cast that comprises David Hyde Pierce, Julia Murney, Paul Anthony Stewart and Frankie Seratch.
The Landing: theater review by Adam Feldman
Not all things that come in threes, it turns out, are good. The Landing, a triptych of one-act musicals, provides a welcome chance to hear new songs by John Kander—including some, orchestrated by Larry Hochman, that pleasantly recall his superior work with the late Fred Ebb. But Kander’s new writing partner, Greg Pierce, is a less felicitous match. The wisftul, naturalistic first piece concerns the bond between a precocious boy (Frankie Seratch) and a kindly furniture maker (Paul Anthony Stewart). The second, strenuously wacky, is a cautionary cartoon about romanticizing gangster movies; Julia Murney plays a frustrated housewife, and David Hyde Pierce—the librettist’s uncle—deadpans gamely as a magical brick (though even he can’t give it layers). In the maudlin third, a gay couple adopts a mysterious boy who may be too good to be true. All three works are hampered by unengaging child characters, and by concepts developed too sketchily to land.—Theater review by Adam Feldman
THE BOTTOM LINE Three strikes, it’s out.
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