Few things are more charming than Kristin Chenoweth in a great role. The multi-talented actress is back on Broadway, starring in a revival of On the Twentieth Century, the Comden-Green-Coleman musical comedy about a train journey packed with escapades and adventures.
Chenoweth plays Lilly Garland, the movie star whose former manager and lover Oscar Jaffee (Peter Gallagher) is attempting to lure back to the stage to help finance his next project. Jafee is aided by his goofy sidekicks Oliver Webb (Mark Linn-Baker) and Owen O’Malley (Michael McGrath), and Garland is accompanied by her muscular lover Bruce Granit (Andy Karl, in a truly hilarious performance). As plots entwine and schemes collide, comedy ensues and many, many mishaps happen.
The production is packed with physical comedy, with the muscular Karl and petite Chenoweth making a perfect pair for slapstick moments. (I particularly enjoyed when Karl performed bicep curls using Chenoweth as a weight.) The elegantly mobile set (as well as the quartet of singing and dancing porters) is a delight to view, as are the stylish period-perfect costumes.
Chenoweth shines as Lily Garland, the egotistical woman torn between her ego and her desires, and Gallagher is a fine pair for her as he becomes increasingly desperate to save his career, even involving a supposedly wealthy religious fanatic (played by a hilarious Mary Louise Wilson). The entire production is an over-the-top delight.
Kristin Chenoweth (Mildred Plotka/Lily Garland), Peter Gallagher (Oscar Jaffee), Andy Karl (Bruce Granit), Mark Linn-Baker (Oliver Webb), Michael McGrath (Owen O’Malley), Mary Louise Wilson (Letitia Peabody Primrose), James Moye (ensemble), Rick Faugno (ensemble), Richard Riaz Yoder (ensemble), Phillip Attmore (ensemble) and Drew King (ensemble).