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On the Town

The Paper Mill Playhouse is back doing what it does best with "On the Town."

Ozzie - Jeffrey Schecter Chip - Brian Shepard Gabey - Tyler Hanes Hildy Esterhazy - Jennifer Cody Ivy - Yvette Tucker Claire DeLoone - Kelly Sullivan Judge Pitkin - Bill Nolte Madame Maude P. Dilly - Harriet Harris

The Paper Mill Playhouse is back doing what it does best with “On the Town,” the balletic 1944 tuner about a trio of feisty sailors on 24-hour leave in New York. With an appealing cast directed by Bill Berry and choreographed by Patti Colombo, the Golden Age musical hums with bounding energy and soars with Leonard Bernstein’s exhilarating score in a revival far more satisfying than George C. Wolfe’s production a decade ago.

Colombo has fueled the action with dizzying leaps and spins that frequently brought cheers from the opening-night audience. Betty Comden and Adolph Green fashioned a book with enough silliness to keep one giggling throughout and the sweet longing harbored in songs like “Some Other Time’ and “Lucky To Be Me” still resonates with fervent romanticism.

Smart casting gives the show plenty of pluck. The three sailors are played by Brian Shepard, Tyler Hanes and Jeffrey Schecter with great gusto and infectious abandon. Jennifer Cody gives life to the brassy cab driver who confesses her amorous kitchen skills with a flourish in “I Can Cook Too.” And Yvette Tucker is a fetching Miss Turnstiles, the elusive subway poster girl who is the focus of the sailors’ quest.

There’s also a wonderfully blowzy turn from Harriet Harris as a tipsy vocal coach.

And you can put to rest the rumors of a Coney island restoration. It’s already happened in the thrilling balletic finale onstage at the Paper Mill.

On the Town

Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn, NJ; 1,200 seats; $92 top

Production: A Paper Mill Playhouse presentation of a musical in two acts with music by Leonard Bernstein, book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, based on a concept by Jerome Robbins. Directed by Bill Berry. Music direction, Tom Helm. Choreography, Patti Colombo. Sets, Walt Spangler.

Creative: Costumes, David C. Woolard; lighting, Tom Sturge; sound, Walt Spangler; production stage manager, Richard C. Rauscher. Opened, reviewed Nov. 15, 2009. Running time: 2 HOURS, 25 MIN.

Cast: Ozzie - Jeffrey Schecter Chip - Brian Shepard Gabey - Tyler Hanes Hildy Esterhazy - Jennifer Cody Ivy - Yvette Tucker Claire DeLoone - Kelly Sullivan Judge Pitkin - Bill Nolte Madame Maude P. Dilly - Harriet HarrisWith: Casey Muha, Tari Kelly, Steven Ted Beckler, Tyler Foy, Rod Roberts, Logan Kesler, Molly Tynes, Paige A. Williams, Paige Faure, Jacob Widman, Catherine Ricafort, Kyle Vaughn, Michael Scirrotto, Philip Northington, James A. Pierce III, Caitlin Mundth.

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