As I watched “I Married an Angel,” the wan Encores! offering that opened on Wednesday night at New York City Center, my mind kept flashing to debates about Confederate monuments. What do we do with the troublesome products of our cultural past?
Encores! is in the business of monuments. The series’ implicit argument is that old musicals, even with faulty books or politics, may offer meaningful pleasures. Failing that, they may offer history lessons.
And it’s true, I was glad for both reasons to see “I Married an Angel,” a dance-heavy 1938 Rodgers and Hart fantasia unlikely to be revived on its own merits. Not only does it provide an opportunity to watch the New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns perform the choreography of her husband, Joshua Bergasse, and to hear a Richard Rodgers score suavely reincarnated, but it also makes you think about the role musical theater has often played in maintaining odious social norms even while advancing purely artistic ones.
Still, I’m not sure those excuses suffice anymore.
If the problem were just a few lines, it might be swept away or ignored. But even after a thorough feminist scouring by the playwrights Sarah Saltzberg and Sandy Rustin, “I Married an Angel” is solid-state groan-worthy. You can’t scour away Lorenz Hart’s lyrics.
The premise remains untouched: that women are either too bad or too good, and that only the love of a man can help them find a happy medium. Or at least that’s what I took from the story of a Hungarian banker, Willy Palaffi (Mark Evans), who would rather stay single than consort with the schemers and sinners he meets in Budapest society. “If you ever hear that I’m married,” he says, “you can be sure that an angel flew down from heaven to become my wife.”
But when that actually happens, in the form of Ms. Mearns, she proves so incapable of guile that she offends all of Willy’s friends and, at the end of the first act, causes a ruinous run on his bank.
In the second act, she undergoes a re-education. Her sister seraphim teach her that a woman without love is like an “angel without wings.” And in the song “A Twinkle in Your Eye,” Willy’s sister, Peggy (Nikki M. James), delivers the crucial feminine lesson: “It’s not what you do, it’s what you promise.”
You can faintly feel the risqué frisson a line like that may have aroused in the audience at the Shubert Theater in 1938. But mostly you wince, as you also do when an old man remembers how lovely Peggy was when they started dating: “You were 18 — I hope.” (She was 15.)
That’s when I started thinking not only about Confederate monuments, but also about Woody Allen and Michael Jackson.
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If such contemporary intrusions ought to be irrelevant, I can only say that a stronger production might have made them so. But Mr. Bergasse, who directed as well as choreographed, has not been able to provide sufficient coherence and distraction.
Ms. Mearns, when she dances, is fantastic — and modern. Her Angel is no sylph, but an athlete and a seeker. When she rises on point and shudders around the stage to demonstrate the excitement of her encounter with humanness, she is at once lovely and gauche, counteracting the bubble-headedeness of the character as written.
[A conversation with Mr. Bergasse and Ms. Mearns about “I Married an Angel.”]
Perhaps that complexity is in the DNA of the dances, originally choreographed by George Balanchine for his fiancée Vera Zorina. Though no record of their work remains except for some silent footage, you can sense the scale of the 1938 “I Married an Angel” from the size of the cast (51 performers), the rave reviews (“an imaginative improvisation”) and the hole in the storytelling that spectacle must have filled. Balanchine had a snowstorm onstage.
But Mr. Bergasse, who choreographed the eloquent 2014 revival of “On The Town,” has neither the troops for spectacle (Encores! has a cast of 29) nor the directing chops to keep the evening from separating like mayonnaise. For each impressive musical number, including Phillip Attmore and Hayley Podschun in some rousing tap specialties, there are two dull ones. The book scenes are too busily staged — as if they, too, were choreographed — and the spoken performances are generally subpar.
Not so the music, directed by Rob Fisher and played by a luxurious 29-piece orchestra to make the best possible case for this strange heaven-meets-honky-tonk mélange of a Rodgers score. “Spring Is Here,” “I’ll Tell the Man in the Street,” the title song and a rhythm number called “How to Win Friends and Influence People” (the Dale Carnegie book was then new) get a lovely buzz from the original Hans Spialek orchestrations, rediscovered and restored for this production. Naturally, the harpist (Susan Jolles) plays a central role.
Even the best songs, though, lack verbal lift. Hart’s lyrics (and his rhymed spoken couplets for Angel and her sisters) are neither very glittery nor very frisky today. Dusty punch lines include the set designer Jo Mielziner (rhymes with “keener”) and the operetta composer Rudolf Friml (rhymes with “Gott im Himmel”). The emphasis on tricks gets tiring.
Indeed, though I may be projecting back in time, I felt I could hear Rodgers beginning to move away from Hart in his songwriting ambition. Though five more years, which included “Pal Joey,” would ensue before Hammerstein and “Oklahoma!” came along, the music for “Angel” — like Angel herself in her desire to be human — wants something the lyrics can’t provide.
Perhaps it’s unfair that I, too, want something this material can’t provide. As a product of its time, “I Married an Angel” certainly merits scholarly study and maybe even staging, albeit a better one than this.
But a problem with mounting disagreeable works on such glamorous and expensive pedestals is that they use up all the pedestals. There are plenty of worthy shows to be restored, even if not the work of such prominent artists. Where will they stand?B:
麻将买码跟杠怎么计算【理】【所】【当】【然】【的】，【地】【龙】【的】【目】【标】【最】【终】【是】【定】【在】【了】【张】【神】【虎】【所】【驾】【驶】【的】【重】【装】【战】【士】【机】【甲】【身】【上】。 【地】【龙】【的】【战】【场】【感】【知】【不】【算】【敏】【锐】，【但】【也】【能】【够】【感】【觉】【出】【来】，【张】【神】【虎】【的】【重】【装】【战】【士】【机】【甲】【战】【斗】【力】【更】【加】【的】【强】【一】【些】，【危】【险】【度】【也】【更】【高】。 【至】【于】【那】【个】【重】【装】【肉】【盾】【机】【甲】，【大】【锤】【砸】【的】【地】【龙】【虽】【然】【有】【些】【心】【惊】，【但】【因】【为】【行】【动】【缓】【慢】【的】【缘】【故】，【还】【是】【很】【好】【对】【付】【的】。 【确】【定】【后】【这】【次】【攻】【击】
【幕】【歌】【轻】【喝】【一】【声】，【飞】【去】【横】【剑】，【随】【又】【顺】【势】【纵】【身】【而】【起】，【挥】【掌】【向】【虚】【空】【迎】【面】【猛】【击】【过】【去】。【虚】【空】【还】【未】【来】【得】【及】【揣】【度】【她】【意】，【身】【形】【却】【已】【下】【意】【识】【避】【开】。 【幕】【歌】【持】【剑】【立】【于】【两】【人】【之】【间】，【莞】【尔】【笑】【道】：“【慕】【容】【庄】【主】，【好】【久】【不】【见】。” “【辩】【儿】，【还】【不】【快】【出】【来】【拜】【见】【慕】【容】【庄】【主】？” 【萧】【辩】【从】【远】【处】【树】【林】【里】【走】【出】【来】，【抬】【起】【袖】【子】【擦】【了】【擦】【眼】【泪】，【人】【都】【没】【看】【清】，【倒】【先】【是】
“【是】【招】【兵】【买】【马】，【还】【是】【为】【使】【君】【积】【攒】【实】【力】，【聪】【明】【人】【一】【眼】【便】【能】【看】【出】，【只】【有】【蔡】【将】【军】【鼠】【目】【寸】【光】【罢】【了】。”【一】【个】【清】【澈】【的】【声】【音】【忽】【然】【响】【起】。 “【是】【谁】【在】【大】【放】【厥】【词】！”【蔡】【瑁】【大】【怒】。 【此】【时】【诸】【葛】【亮】【才】【缓】【缓】【走】【出】，【对】【刘】【表】【行】【了】【一】【礼】：“【使】【君】。” 【刘】【表】【见】【这】【少】【年】【风】【度】【翩】【翩】，【也】【是】【小】【惊】【讶】【了】【一】【番】，【于】【是】【问】【道】：“【你】【是】【何】【人】？” 【此】【时】【诸】【葛】【玄】【也】
【早】【报】【日】【期】【是】25【年】【前】【的】【夏】【天】。 8【月】9【号】。 【这】【个】【年】【代】【报】【纸】【还】【是】【黑】【白】【色】【的】，【因】【为】【没】【有】PS【马】【赛】【克】【技】【术】，【所】【以】【能】【很】【清】【晰】【的】【看】【到】【女】【婴】【五】【官】【和】【穿】【着】。 【女】【婴】【手】【上】【还】【戴】【着】【两】【个】【金】【镯】【子】。 【由】【此】【可】【以】【判】【断】【出】【来】，【这】【个】【女】【婴】【应】【该】【出】【自】【富】【裕】【人】【家】。 【倪】【烟】【微】【微】【蹙】【眉】，【将】【报】【纸】【叠】【起】【来】，【回】【眸】【看】【向】【杜】【爷】，“【杜】【大】【哥】，【这】【个】【报】【纸】【能】【借】麻将买码跟杠怎么计算【显】【然】，【这】【位】【木】【灵】【族】【的】【族】【长】，【已】【经】【是】【动】【了】【真】【怒】，【要】【动】【用】【雷】【霆】【手】【段】，【斩】【杀】【慕】【容】【月】【这】【个】【魔】【宫】【的】【妖】【女】。 【然】【而】【面】【对】【着】【木】【灵】【族】【族】【长】【这】【般】【凶】【悍】【的】【攻】【势】，【慕】【容】【月】【本】【人】，【却】【是】【面】【色】【依】【旧】【平】【淡】，【她】【的】【嘴】【角】，【反】【而】【是】【掀】【起】【了】【一】【抹】【嘲】【讽】【弧】【度】，【就】【在】【那】【众】【多】【的】【根】【须】【即】【将】【要】【落】【到】【她】【身】【上】【的】【时】【候】，【她】【忽】【然】【动】【了】。 【她】【的】【身】【上】，【魔】【气】【骤】【然】【翻】【涌】，【只】【见】【得】
【这】【个】【世】【界】【的】【人】【虽】【然】【骁】【勇】【好】【斗】，【崇】【拜】【强】【者】，【打】【架】【斗】【殴】【那】【是】【常】【态】。 【但】【是】【也】【恰】【恰】【如】【此】，【在】【这】【个】【世】【界】【没】【有】【人】【会】【瞧】【得】【起】【持】【强】【凌】【弱】【之】【人】。 【这】【个】【跟】【这】【个】【世】【界】【人】【类】【的】【历】【史】【有】【关】，【纵】【观】【人】【类】【的】【历】【史】，【都】【是】【一】【路】【被】【欺】【负】【成】【长】【的】。【早】【些】【年】【甚】【至】【是】【别】【人】【的】【盘】【中】【餐】。 【这】【种】【血】【泪】【史】【使】【得】【人】【类】【极】【其】【鄙】【视】【那】【些】【欺】【负】【弱】【小】【者】。【而】【另】【一】【方】【面】【弱】【小】【没】【关】
【尹】【冰】【冰】【在】【路】【上】【走】【着】，【威】【武】【霸】【气】，【气】【势】【如】【虹】，【周】【围】【还】【有】【几】【个】【男】【人】【围】【着】，【大】【阵】【仗】。 【墨】【镜】【在】【眼】【前】，【微】【微】【有】【些】【困】【顿】【的】【面】【色】【冷】【凝】【着】，【这】【个】【女】【人】【终】【于】【知】【道】【找】【自】【己】【回】【来】【了】，【否】【则】【她】【都】【要】【怀】【疑】【一】【些】【事】【情】【了】。 “【没】【事】，【赶】【车】【回】【来】，【这】【不】【是】【回】【去】【找】【你】？”【尹】【冰】【冰】【说】【着】【随】【意】【的】【话】，【脸】【上】【的】【笑】【意】【渐】【渐】【深】【了】【起】【来】。 【何】【灵】【微】【微】【一】【顿】，【也】【觉】【得】