Review: ‘On a Clear Day You Can See Forever’

There is considerable plot left out of this "Cliff Notes" adaptation of the 1965 Lerner-Lane musical, but its four-member cast manages to convey the essence of the main story line, the ESP-driven romance between angst-ridden clairvoyant, Daisy Gamble (KT Sullivan) and suave but self-serving psychologist Dr. Mark Bruckner (Jeff Harnar).

There is considerable plot left out of this “Cliff Notes” adaptation of the 1965 Lerner-Lane musical, but its four-member cast manages to convey the essence of the main story line, the ESP-driven romance between angst-ridden clairvoyant, Daisy Gamble (KT Sullivan) and suave but self-serving psychologist Dr. Mark Bruckner (Jeff Harnar). Many of the included numbers are too lightweight and/or programmatic to stand outside the boundaries of a fully staged production; and the understated, backers-audition quality of the performances do not compensate.

With scripts in hand, Sullivan and Harnar wend their way through this tale of the seriously inhibited Daisy who thinks Bruckner is hypnotizing her out of her smoking habit. Instead, the good doctor has discovered the spiritually pliant Daisy can be regressed back to the 18th century into the persona of the magnificently intelligent, free-spirited Englishwoman Melinda, with whom he falls in love. To move the storyline along, Barry Kleinbort narrates as well as filling in on some needed extra characters.

Pianist Christopher Denny adds his voice as Daisy’s fiancee, Warren. Adapter-director Kleinbort alludes to the show’s various subplots in the narration, but that is not enough to support such forgettable ditties as “Hurry! It’s Lovely Up Here,” “Ring Out the Bells,” “The Solicitor’s Song” and “On the S.S. Bernard Cohn.” And the performances are not vivid enough to transcend the material.

The strongest member of the ensemble is the deftly comedic Sullivan, who segues nicely between the insecure, working-girl persona of Daisy and the imperious Melinda. She also gives emotion-tugging renditions to a pair of the better ballads from the show, “Love With All the Trimmings” and “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have.”

The velvet-voiced Harnar has the best songs, crooning his way beautifully through the title tune, “On a Clear Day,” and offering a buoyant, hard-driving “Come Back to Me.” His characterization of Dr. Bruckner, however, never gets beyond the level of an intelligent reading of the script, failing to communicate any real personality or involvement with the other characters.

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Cinegrill; 200 seats; $15

Production

The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel's Cinegrill presents a concert adaptation in one act, book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Burton Lane, adapted and directed by Barry Kleinbort. Music director-pianist, Christopher Denny. Opened and reviewed July 22, 1997; runs until July 26.

Cast

KT Sullivan - Daisy Gamble
Jeff Harnar - Dr. Mark Bruckner
Barry Kleinbort - Narrator/Sir Hubert/Kriakos
Christopher Denny - Warren
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