If you’re in the New York City area and looking to get out of the heat, then head to the Shubert Theater on Broadway where you can chill in the A/C and enjoy the fantastic Fahrenheit-busting, razzle-dazzle of Some Like It Hot. Winner of 4 Tony Awards, Some Like It Hot is a delightful throwback to crowd-pleasing musical comedies. The splashy, dance-tastic production is fresh and funny, funny, funny.
From the top of the show, director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw (who scored the Tony Award for Best Choreography here) sets a quick pace that lands laugh after laugh in between spectacular production numbers. No hyperbole here – this is easily one of the best singing/dancing ensembles currently on Broadway. With an infectious score by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, paired with a clever book by Matthew López and Amber Ruffin, the show is stocked with high-octane fuel from the get-go.
Like the 1959 Billy Wilder film of the same name, the story follows two Prohibition-era musicians, Joe (Christian Boyle) and Jerry (J. Harrison Ghee), who accidentally witness a mob hit in Chicago. In order to avoid a similar fate, the duo dress in drag in order to join an all-women band heading to Southern California with brassy bandleader Sweet Sue (played by swinging and sassy NaTasha Yvette). Sax player Joe becomes Josephine, and bassist Jerry transforms into Daphne.
Along the way, Joe becomes smitten with the band’s lead singer, Sugar Kane, played by the luminous Adrianna Hicks. But Joe’s drag persona becomes a hurdle to his pursuing Sugar, so he invents yet another character – as a phony German screenwriter named Kip – with which to chase Sugar.
And Jerry/Daphne encounters a lovesick Mexican-American millionaire named Osgood Fielding III, who has his own secrets. Kevin Del Aguila brings the character to life with delicious wacky line-readings and comic physicality that keeps the comedy coming. As Osgood falls for Daphne, Jerry has a gender fluid epiphany: that he’s comfortable as Daphne.
It’s in that moment that Daphne sings, “You Could Have Knocked Me Over With a Feather,” one of the show’s highlights and a good reason Ghee (who identifies as non-binary) won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical as well as the Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award. Summing up Jerry/Daphne’s personal revelation, he sings, “The lady I’m in love with is me.” And the crowd roars.
It’s important to note that the gender fluid aspects of the story are handled with a light touch. Nicholaw and company never takes the show outside of itself or raises up to lecture. Del Aguila’s Osgood deftly serves up the show’s primary perspective telling Daphne, “The world reacts to what it sees, and in my experience, the world doesn’t have very good eyesight.”
Additional show-stoppers include Joe and Jerry’s song-and-dance ode to their friendship, “You Can’t Have Me (if You Don’t Have Him);” the caterpillar to butterfly-themed production number, “Fly, Mariposa, Fly;” and a wild chase scene finale set amid moving sets of doors.
Since this is musical comedy, all ends with everything in its rightful place. And Some Like It Hot is definitely in its rightful place sitting oh-so-pretty at the Shubert Theater. If you’re in NYC, go see Some Like It Hot – you’ll have a great time. (5 stars)
Click over to the Some Like It Hot official website for ticket information.