Monday, April 28, 2014

Inventing Mary Martin @ The York Theater Company

 Mary Martin, famous for originating the roles of Nellie(South Pacific), Maria(The Sound of Music), Venus, and Peter Pan, had a career that spanned 40 years filled with Hollywood movies and tours overseas. Earning four Tony Awards and an Emmy in her lifetime, she famously invented herself and reinvented herself to match the needs of pop culture and was hugely respected by such composers as Rogers and Hammerstein and Cole Porter, and beloved by audiences all over the world.

 This revue honors her achievements with stunning performances by Emily Skinner, Lynne Halliday, Cameron Adams, and hilariously narrated by Jason Graae. A show filled with laughter, it is unafraid to dig up the flops of Martin's career as well as the achievements, poking light hearted fun at her earlier disappointments reminding the audience that she too as human, while at the same time boasting of her talent by pointing out that Martin beat out Ethel Merman for a Tony.

   Emily Skinner(Tony nominee) is enchanting, representing the sensual nature of Mary, her voice consistently draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Young, peppy Cameron Adams, brings Mary's youth to life with her lilting soprano voice and sweet, yet spunky demeanor. Lynne Halliday, is graceful, creating the illusion of old Hollywood glamour. Together, these women weave Mary's story.

   Jason Graae, the narrator and host of what can only be called a party, is both comic relief and responsible for moving the storyline along. Representing as many males as he needs to, his shining comedic moment was actually reenacting Mary's "Women's Fashion in 50 years." To the direction of an off-stage voice, Graae races through 50 years of women's fashions, complete with heels and hats galore - absolutely the funniest moment in the show.

   Written and directed by Stephen Cole and co-directed and choreographed by Bob Richard, Inventing Mary Martin is quite obviously a labor of love and the admiration for the woman is apparent in the show. While the script can be somewhat lagging at times, the numbers are beautiful, and the cast incredibly talented.

  Inventing Mary Martin opened at the York Theatre, April 27th and will be playing through May 25th, be sure to get your tickets here!

Review By: Aziza Seven
Photos By: Jenny Anderson

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