Sierra Boggess. and David Burtka photos by Joan
By Russell Bouthiller
Putting together a wedding can be stressful, especially when the
parents of the bride or groom wish the happy event were not taking place at
all. Same old story: in the eyes of the parents, one’s not good enough for the
other. As it happens in the original new musical It Shoulda Been You, both
sets of parents are in agreement with their disagreements. Yet, this is
anything but your same ol’ wedding story.
Making his Broadway directorial debut, the Tony-winning veteran
actor David Hyde Pierce brings to the stage of the Brooks Atkinson Theatre a
festooned confection of family farce and matrimonial mayhem. With book and
lyrics by Brian Hargrove and music by Barbara Anselmi, It Shoulda Been You
comes to Broadway after a sold-out run at New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse.
The show opens on the day of the big event at a richly adorned
hotel that smacks of a three-tiered wedding cake, compliments of set designs by
Anna Louiszos. Lots of doors and staircases cue the audience that oodles of
high jinks are in store.
Chip Zien, Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris, and
Michael X. Martin photos by Joan Marcus
The parents of the bride, the Steinbergs, are Jewish and the
parents the groom, the Howards, are gentile. (That they mention a priest as
being from “our side,” presumably they are Catholic.) That mixed religious
backgrounds should present such ill feeling initially comes off as awkward and
archaic, but these old-school prejudices quickly become comic fodder as the
younger generation gives the older one a lesson in 21st Century
It Shoulda Been You stars Tony-winners Tyne Daly as Judy
Steinberg and Harriet Harris as Georgette Howard, polarized
mothers-in-law-to-be. Lisa Howard is the stout maid of honor, Jenny Steinberg,
who tends her svelte sister, Rebecca, played by the lovely Sierra Boggess.
David Burtka is the handsome gentile groom, Brian, and the adorable Josh
Grisetti as Marty Kaufman is the boy who should have been walking down the aisle;
at least, that is how both sets of parents see it. But, surprises are in
Without giving away too much plot—and you don’t want to know it
prior to going to the show—It Shoulda Been You is not the standard
panini station one might imagine. The problem at the center of the story is
actually one that fuels much of the darker news stories of today: can’t we all
just get along? Tackling so many “isms” is no small feat, especially when the
method of squelching prejudice is done with such panache.
What makes these characters so funny is their earnestness. They
believe their own nonsense. This is where the author and the director achieve
their greatest success. What should have been not so funny is, indeed,
hysterical. What frustrates these characters is exactly what makes the
audience laugh. And, this is a musical with big laughs and hearty songs.
Lisa Howard and Tyne Daly
Tyne Daly as the domineering mother who sees herself as sweet is
the driving force behind the show. Minimizing daughter Jenny seems her default
mode, which prompts the show stopping number, “Jenny’s Blues.” But, it’s not
just her own family she guilts into submission. When ex-boyfriend Marty shows
up at the wedding, she confronts him. “What I do?” he asks quizzically. “My
daughter breaks your heart and you don’t have the decency to call me.” This
sets up the title song, one of the shows best numbers.
Henpecked husband and proud Papa, Murray Steinberg, lovingly
illustrated by veteran Chip Zien, is no match for his wife. “Your mother and I
had words, but I didn’t get to use any of mine.” Harriet Harris holds her own
with a riotous upper-crust approach to alcohol consumption. Her zany number
“Where Did I Go Wrong” is done with a shake and a stir.
Montego Glover and Nick Spangler join the couple
Montego Glover warms us as Rebecca’s best friend, Annie. Nick
Spangler stands up cutely as the best man, Greg. And, the brilliant Edward
Hibbert has the most fun of all as the prescient wedding planner, Albert. And everyone
looks good enough to eat in William Ivey Long’s frothy costumes.
It Shoulda Been You and Broadway, a match made in
The Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 West 47th St.
(just west of Broadway)
New York, NY
Tickets: 877-250-2929 or o
More Information: www.itshouldabeenyou.com
Running time: 1 hr. 45 minutes, no intermission