There were five of us who met up at the first matinee of Ten Cents a Dance at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, all musical fans, and the reaction was that two loved it, three hated it. Trying to find something positive to balance my feeling that it is an over-produced “Snooze-ical” is a challenge.
In what the publicists describe as the “American Premiere,” the director John Doyle first staged this song-cycle, featuring nearly 30 Rodgers and Hart tunes and a wisp of a narrative, in 2002 at the Watermill Playhouse in West Berkshire, England. Both that production and this could be accurately described as a series of the very nice songs of Rodgers and Hart performed very nicely.
Director Doyle has gained quite a reputation for engaging performers who not only can do vocals, but also can double as the orchestra. They alternate their vocals with intermittent turns on the sax, trumpet, drums and strings. Doyle has done this to superb effect with both Sweeney Todd and Company.