A highlight of the second season of Encores! (1995) and featuring a memorable score by Irving Berlin, "Call Me Madam" centers around a brassy ambassador to the fictional European nation of Lichtenberg.
The show pokes fun at a far more polite and benign political world and includes standards such as “It’s a Lovely Day Today” and “Something to Dance About,” along with Berlin’s famous counterpoint duet, “You’re Just in Love.”
"It would take quite a fabricator to wax excessively enthusiastic about the Crouse-Lindsay script...What 'Call Me Madam' has in carloads is the Berlin score, undoubtedly tossed off in green-apple-quick time when—unlike today’s scores too often—melodic scores were expected and delivered...It could be said that 'Call Me Madam' is a period piece. It also could, and can, be said that, in this incarnation at least, it remains a joyfully entertaining piece." Full Review
“Particularly agreeable, although not exactly politically correct musical that spoofs with a wink and smile...Charming and sweet...It’s an undeniable old-fashioned Lichtenburg treat that shouldn’t be missed. ‘Call Me Madam’ is joyful and fun and as directed with a skilled hand...even with the slowness of Act One and repetitive nature of its numerous reprises, this old classic can’t be ignored...As joyfully a night as you can hope for, honoring all that Encores! represents." Full Review
"The new 'Call Me Madam' satisfactorily delivers what they used to call a good old-fashioned musical, with sly cracks from the jokebook interrupted by a parade of brightly tuneful but not especially relevant songs. This is accomplished in high fashion, with some enjoyably charming turns from the players...'Call Me Madam' is, yes, enjoyable and cotton candy to enthusiasts of the genre. But the holes are apparent...It’s the ministrations of choreographer Jones that most delight the crowd." Full Review
"With its typically smart concert style staging, almost at full production level, Encores! demonstrates how cleverly satirical the show was for its time, and it has some absolutely delightful Berlin songs to enjoy...Carmen Cusack makes the character come to life believably as she integrates the comedy with the romance that blossoms so that there is real feeling projected within the corny plot and her deft satirical interpretation...The cast and chorus work brighten the revival." Full Review
"Ms. Cusack is glamorous and goofy, channeling the musical comedy stylings of Donna Murphy, and has never sounded better in song after song...The supporting cast of principals is strong, too, most notably Mr. Gotay and Ms. Worsham...'Call Me Madam,' given a simple but well-performed production under the direction of Casey Hushion, is Encores! at its truest: a concert revival of a classic musical that would not otherwise be seen on stage again." Full Review
“’Call me Madam’ is breathing in new life in the 21st Century...Cusack's casual charm comes with a delightful drawl and spirited country-pop vocals...By no means a classic musical, ‘Call me Madam’ is nevertheless a classic style musical of its time, offering 1950s audiences some good laughs, some pleasing new tunes and a big star performance. And you didn't have to take out a loan or access a government program to afford tickets.” Full Review
"Sadly, Carmen Cusack doesn’t quite have the larger-than-life presence necessary to lift this flimsy star vehicle. She does, however, have a gorgeous voice and charm to spare, and these assets, along with Irving Berlin's terrific score and some deftly amusing supporting performances, make this 'Call Me Madam' enjoyable if not spectacular...For every joke that falls flat, there's a terrific song." Full Review
"Cusack soon makes the role of Sally, who is appointed to be ambassador to the tiny European duchy of Lichtenburg and ends up way too involved in its affairs - in every sense of the word - her own. She has a down-home way of speaking that is ideal for the Oklahoma-born heiress; a warmth that makes it easy to see why the ultra-suave Cosmo Constantine (the velvet-voiced Davis) would fall in love with her; and a strong yet supple voice that lends itself beautifully to numbers." Full Review
“I found the first act annoying, the songs overlong to the point of tedium. That said, the second act delivers...The Encores! orchestra moves stylishly through the rich and memorable magic of Berlin’s score. They’re wonderful, everything an orchestra ought to be...The orchestra remains the leading character throughout...The leads are reliable...Despite my first act issues, I’d buy a ticket — it was fun to be there.” Full Review
"This particular production unfortunately, suffers from numerous missteps...That's not to say there isn't a lot to like in the show. The entire cast projects an infectious enthusiasm in their performances and the Berlin score is a joy to hear...However all too often, this Encores! offering chugs along when it should soar and meanders when it should be tightly focused. It's not so much a bad production as a missed opportunity." Full Review
"The pulse-lowering Encores! production...Cusack, a strong performer in other circumstances — is overpowered here by material that, if it can work at all today, can do so only when rough-handled by a mauler....'Call Me Madam' can’t support much political reflection, or any reflection, really...The songs mostly backfire dramatically by forcing us to sympathize with characters, especially Adams, whom the book otherwise wishes us to treat as objects of surprisingly coarse satire." Full Review
"What passed as 'political satire' in 1950 does not have quite the same bite in 2019 — at least not as seen in the flat and tiresome revival...While 'Call Me Madam' has at least four good songs, much of the rest is second-rate operetta pastiche and the book is drawn-out. The Encores! revival still could have made for charming entertainment, but it is hampered by tone-deaf, draggy direction by Casey Hushion and an ineffective lead performance by Carmen Cusack." Full Review
“A wonderful performer in her own right, you can see and hear Cusack struggling to reshape the role to match her acting and singing style. It's not that her performance is boring or incompetent; it is just a forced fit that never catches hold...The same could be said for pretty much the entire cast...Encores! has long abandoned simple stagings of musicals in favor of well-wrought productions. This undercooked 'Call Me Madam,' while hardly a disaster, does not live up to its own standards.” Full Review
See it if you know and love the musical theatre genius of Irving Berlin and the Lindsay/Crouses of the theatre world. See it if you need a lift.
Don't see it if Uh.....uh......can't think of any really good reason
See it if You love Encores! and what they do—bringing older shows, dusting them off, making them fresh, and reminding when theater was entertainment.
Don't see it if You need the hot new show. This is old-fashioned, pure entertainment. Don’t go if you’re looking for big sets, contemporary themes or ideas.
See it if you enjoy wonderful musicals that have great singing and dancing mixed with laughter.
Don't see it if you do not enjoy endings that tie everything together and makes you feel good.
See it if you want to hear the music of Irving Berlin in a musical spoof on the politics of the 1950's that is still relevant today.
Don't see it if you want a musical with more elaborate sets - the Encore performances focus on the music.
See it if you appreciate Berlin: (You're Not Sick) You're Just in Love/I Wonder Why, It's a Lovely Day Today; Cusack's southern charm, Davis' voice.
Don't see it if you can't stand love-conquers-all musicals with a hum-able score.
Also See it!
See it if you enjoy a delightful romp through history with a sublime Irving Berlin score and great singing and dancing.
Don't see it if you can't appreciate minimalist staging and are unaware of historical references.
See it if Pure fun and fluff, but clever and great classic Berlin score. Carmen Cusack is charming and funny, and her voice is among broadway’s best.
Don't see it if It’s pure 1950’s, musical comedy entertainment. No depth but lots of fun.
See it if you enjoy Encores and are willing to just be entertained, you like Carmen Cusack even if it takes a while for her to come into her own.
Don't see it if you expect anything that feels relevant, you are put off by old-fashion stereotypes, you can't get into great classic tunes just for fun.
See it if You like old style Broadway Musicals...with lots of fluff under furl, forbidden love and happy endings.
Don't see it if You want more than a fluffy good time. This is a fun old musical filled with fun moments done with a lot of fun actors seemingly having fun.
See it if See it for Ben Davis, who plays the gorgeous government official from Lichtenburg. His manner and voice are as handsome as his face.
Don't see it if old-fashioned musicals with happy endings are not your thing.
See it if Golden Age musical brought to life. Carmen Cusack is wonderful. Jason Gotay is charming and in great voice. Denis Jones choreography lovely
Don't see it if Old fashioned sparkle shines through book that creaks - though resonant to current themes of cronyism and democracy. Many songs we cherish .
See it if you like old musicals.This one has only 1-2 songs that you might know.Plot is predictable.Performances are wonderful.Choreo is amazing.
Don't see it if you are looking for something challenging.This one is dated, but has some fun things to say about politics.Singing is out of sight!
See it if you're looking for an old-fashioned musical. Thin plot, some lovely songs and dances, and a happy ending. Great costumes.
Don't see it if you want fast-moving action. However, the Berlin score is well-served by the talented cast.
See it if The score us excellent and the story is uplifting...something we can all use now. Excellent performances
Don't see it if It is old fashioned and charming, not edgy. Don't see it if you don't like old fashioned musicals.
See it if you want an escape. Entertaining Encores! Fun choreog/gr voices (incldg Cusack who hits notes, unlike Merman). Gr costumes. RandyR is wasted
Don't see it if you want substance. CMM is pure fun, w/memorable melodies. Needs cuts. Broad humor. Some lyrics get lost. Gr orchestra. Gotay/Worsham shine.
See it if You love encores shows! Ones with big musical numbers. You want to see how something from the 50s could have such relevant commentary
Don't see it if You want to stay completely away from the political
See it if See it if you enjoy old musicals with great songs, great music and great dancing. And it's lots of fun to boot.
Don't see it if Don't see it if you don't like old musicals.
See it if you love any of the performers or want to see what City Center is really all about -- putting on a great show
Don't see it if you don't like traditional musical comedies -- there's no stakes here at all.
See it if you enjoy a funny musical by Irving Berlin. A little dated but still relevant talk of politics. Some very wonderful music. Nice costumes.
Don't see it if you only like modern musicals.
Also Encores did a nice job with this musical and it was very well cast.
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