Review: ‘The Goodbye Girl’

Even Donna McKechnie can't vitalize this revival of the dull Broadway version of Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl." What was charming and fast-paced on film became slow and clunky on stage, with the Marvin Hamlisch music pleasant but bland and David Zippel's lyrics lacking sparkle and wit.

Even Donna McKechnie can’t vitalize this revival of the dull Broadway version of Neil Simon’s “The Goodbye Girl.” What was charming and fast-paced on film became slow and clunky on stage, with the Marvin Hamlisch music pleasant but bland and David Zippel’s lyrics lacking sparkle and wit.

The choreography, by Richard Stafford, is skimpy and pointless (the big number has the tap-dancing chorus wearing giant yellow pants up to their necks) and makes little use of stage vet McKechnie’s talents. Bruce Lumpkin , who directed a fine “Cabaret” at the same house last season, could have picked up the tempo, but he’d still have a half-baked script and score on his hands (not to mention a puzzling unresolved conclusion).

As Lucy, the savvy 10-year old daughter of the love-scared actress, tiny Alyse Wojciechowski is terrific (big melodic voice, tremendous sangfroid), and as the boarder/boyfriend, Tony Freeman carries the show.

The Goodbye Girl

Walnut St. Theater, Philadelphia; 1075 seats; $45 top

Production

A Walnut Street Theater presentation of a musical in two acts, with book by Neil Simon, music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by David Zippel. Directed by Bruce Lumpkin. Musical/vocal direction, Sherman Frank.

Creative

Choreography, Richard Stafford; sets, John Farrell; costumes, Patricia Sonataro; lighting, Jeffrey Koger; sound, Scott Smith; stage manager, Frank Anzalone. Opened Sept. 17, 1997. Reviewed Sept. 18. Running time: 2 HOURS, 30 MIN.

Cast

Cast: Donna McKechnie (Paula), Tony Freeman (Elliot), Alyse Wojciechowski (Lucy), Barbara D. Mills (Mrs. Crosby), and company

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