The new musical DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY is in previews with a gorgeous Maury Yeston score, so fans of NINE, GRAND HOTEL and TITANIC have a treat in store. Based on a 1929 play and subsequent film (starring Fredric March) and the basis for the remake MEET JOE BLACK which starred Brad Pitt , this is the tale of Death who tires of his endless work during the war and decides to assume human form and spend a weekend off as the guest of a Duke and his family at their Italian estate where he falls in love with the Duke's daughter.
The starry cast includes (left) Mara Davi, who replaced Sutton Foster in DROWSY CHAPERONE, the wonderful Rebecca Luker, Jill Paice as the object of Death's desire, Max von Essen as her fiance, Matt Cavanaugh as a family friend and Michael Siberry as the Duke. I must introduce myself to Michael one day, he graduated from NIDA in 1976!
It is a most elegant production by Doug Hughes with beautiful costumes and smart choreography. Rebecca Luker has a touching solo called "Losing Roberto" and there is a glorious second act trio for three of the women called "Finally To Know".
Mara Davi (the living image of Julianne Moore in a red wig) has a joyous Charleston number where she teaches Death to dance, called "Shimmy Like They Do in Paree".
But the true revelation of the production is the New York debut of the fabulous British star Julian Ovenden as Death. He was starring in ANNIE GET YOUR GUN with Jane Horrocks to great acclaim when we were in London and he is most certainly going to take this town by storm. He's got EVERYTHING, a soaring voice which reminded tt of George Guetary (remember "Stairway to Paradise" in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS?), great comic timing, bags of boyish charm and the body of...well...death!
I will very much enjoy watching New Yorkers take Mr. Ovenden to their hearts as only these generous people can.