Reprise’s new production of “Gigi” is mostly successful, filled with talented performers gracing a lovely set, but it’s hurt slightly by a piece of miscasting and some bland choreography. Fans of the tuner will probably still love it, however, and the changes Alan Jay Lerner made for the London 1985 revival that were later lost have been reincorporated here by director David Lee, which should add to the appeal.
Lisa O’Hare, who possesses a strong, clear voice reminiscent of Julie Andrews’, makes a wonderful Gigi, capturing both the mischievous impulsiveness and the final intelligent seriousness of the character. Her take on “The Earth and Other Minor Things” demonstrates that she’s a strong singer, but her perf of “In This Wide, Wide World” is pitch-perfect and moving as well. Matt Cavenaugh is disarmingly good as the rich bachelor Gaston, surprised to find himself in love, and his deadpan rendition of “It’s a Bore” is expert. William Atherton, cast as narrator Honore, is fine in dialogue sequences, hitting the target of every dry zinger, but his singing is less consistent, with his lugubrious delivery of “Thank Heaven for Little Girls” an unfortunate example.
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Susan Denaker steals the show as the materialistic Alicia, all acid wit and domineering personality. Her performance of “The Contract” is a master class in comedic acting. Millicent Martin brings a sense of kindness and dignity to the role of Gigi’s grandmother Mamita, and her part of the duet “I Remember It Well” is both wryly funny and ultimately touching. The reliably great Jason Graae has a ball with multiple roles, and his harried marriage-contract lawyer Dufresne and inordinately proud Telephone Installer are hilarious highlights.
Lee stages the show efficiently, with mobile settings sliding on and offstage with a fluid grace. Tom Buderwitz’s gorgeous set is an airy arcade hung with art nouveau reproductions, with a retractable scrim obscuring and revealing the orchestra. Kate Bergh’s panoply of dresses and suits bring color and liveliness to the proceedings, and Jared A. Sayeg’s pastel lighting adds to the sense of stylish elegance. Peggy Hickey’s choreography is professional yet uninspired, but Steve Orich’s music direction creates a lush atmosphere of romance.