Encores! revives the sole musical collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim, about a lonely American woman who journeys to Italy. More…
Adapted from Arthur Laurents' 'The Time of the Cuckoo,' 'Do I Hear a Waltz?' tells the romantic tale of Leona Samish (Tony-nominated Melissa Errico), a middle-class American woman who uses her meager savings for a long-dreamed-of trip to Venice. There she finds love, life, and her truest self. This 1965 musical has not enjoyed a major NYC revival since its original Broadway run.
“Well cast and skillfully handled as a knowing chamber piece...Melissa Errico is a chipper bundle of buoyancy...Opera star Richard Troxell makes an impressive musical theatre debut...Encores!'s ‘Waltz’ makes a strong case for the musical not being fully appreciated fifty-one years ago. True, there are plenty who do not go to musicals for lessons in shrugging off failed romances, but those seeking a mature and sober look at the perils of coupling will be singing its praises.” Full Review
“The show spawned no standards and hasn’t been revived since its 1965 premiere. Yet a new semistaged Encores! production is lovely: Turns out ‘Waltz’ is loaded with gorgeous Rodgers melodies and terrific, biting Sondheim lyrics...Led by Melissa Errico, Karen Ziemba and lyric tenor Richard Troxell, the cast is in fine voice and honors the songs — even as the hilarious Sarah Stiles steals the show in a monosyllabic role.” Full Review
“None of it registers as among Rodgers or Sondheim's best work, but even their second-tier material is superior to almost everyone else's. Still, the piece is most effective in the book portions, which don’t successfully mesh with the musical sequences...Errico delivers a haunting performance. The rest of the ensemble is equally fine...It's easy to see why ‘Waltz’ failed originally. But one must be grateful to Encores! for providing the opportunity to reassess this flawed gem.” Full Review
"Right up there with some of the best scores Rodgers helped turn out—and Sondheim’s agile words are also among his most devilishly clever...Though singing as well as she always does, Errico hasn’t found the key to making Leona sympathetic, appealing despite her spite...A large part of the score is how Rodgers and Sondheim spread their goodies around. All the supporting players benefit...Do I hear a waltz? You bet I do. I can’t get it out of my head, nor do I want to." Full Review
“The Encores production brings out the charm of this modest musical...The cast, mostly first-rate New York theater pros, each gets at least one number worthy of their talents...Richard Troxell, who recently made his Met opera debut, shows off his luscious lyric tenor...No, Rodgers and Sondheim is not Rodgers and Hammerstein, but after the show, I heard more than one theatergoing whistling a happy tune on Seventh Avenue.” Full Review
“Often enjoyable, even when one can recognize that it is not a particularly great musical...The pieces never quite fit together in a way that engages our hearts, rather than just our brains...Under Cabnet's imaginative direction, it's the supporting players who make the strongest impression...Unfortunately, most of our time is devoted to the 'wash and wear Americans' at the center of the plot...The stakes couldn't be much lower.” Full Review
“It’s simply not a must-see musical for the majority of theatergoers. Still, one should grab a ticket to these few performances even if you’re only mildly interested in the material. Frankly, any ticket is worth the price just to see and hear Melissa Errico...Indeed, the entire cast hits every mark it can...I may not need to see ‘Waltz’ again, but I sure wouldn’t mind being able to hear this production on CD.” Full Review
"It is almost too easy to see the first act, the hopeful one that promises romance to Leona, as the Rodgers’ show. After intermission, it feels as if Sondheim could no longer contain his sophisticated cynicism...The characters are caught in the middle—first loving, then fighting, perhaps settling for an uneasy compromise about middle-class morality...Director Evan Cabnet’s lovely production breezes through as if everything were not just historically interesting but stylistically sane." Full Review
"Occasionally clashing lyrics and melodies, though each finds its moments to shine throughout the score, but doesn’t explain Arthur Laurents’ odd book...With limited rehearsal, the cast approaches the material with zeal...Supporting cast members deliver light-hearted comic relief but the material never truly lifts off the page, leaving one to wonder if hearing this particular waltz after all these years was worth the wait." Full Review
"Both satirical and surprisingly poignant…Though 'Do I Hear a Waltz?' is rather lightweight, it really didn’t feel dated that much. Many parts of the show felt quite relevant…Both Rodgers and Sondheim had noted their collaboration was not a happy one. Indeed, their musical styles seemed at odds with each other, and with the story itself at times…Yet the score still hit the mark more than it missed." Full Review
“Comes across as a show about the pursuit of passion that has little passionate urgency itself...I can’t say that this ‘Waltz’ ever thrilled me. But I was fascinated by every second of it...The tone of ‘Waltz’ wobbles between sentimentality and cynicism. The same tension is felt in the songs...Rodgers’s score mostly seems to float up a lazy canal...Every so often, though, a whiff of the ‘wonderful mystical magical miracle’ stirs the air.” Full Review
"Errico, Ziemba, and a lively cast do all their best in this excellent Encores! concert revival of Richard Rodgers and Stephen Sondheim’s lackluster 1965 flop musical...It’s all mildly entertaining but not very compelling and overall dull...Cabnet has expertly staged the show with flair and visual precision...But as Sondheim describes it, 'Discussing the song 'Bargaining'…I said it was pleasant but no showstopper. Unfortunately, that describes the whole show'." Full Review
"There is just something lacking here...It’s hard to finger point it since the script and musical numbers are all well-written and well-placed, but they lack the density of other shows the two artists created...Though the story is not particularly strong, the cast and ensemble truly give it all they have. As a whole, they bring life to the otherwise slightly dull plot...This Encores! performance was still a night well spent at the theatre.” Full Review
“Although the Encores! semistaged production doesn’t hide shaky spots and is a bit dry and underwhelming, the show is a fascinating, seldom-seen curio. There are some terrific songs...Rodgers’ melodies have typical sweep and bounce. Sondheim’s lyrics boast signature wit and acid...Leona is by turns nice and neurotic. She’s also a mean drunk. Errico traces those curves with gusto and her voice shines.” Full Review
"When it comes to storytelling, the production has its missteps, but hearing the under-appreciated score achieve glorious dimension makes this revival eminently worthwhile…Unfortunately, the conflict in this production, under the direction of Evan Cabnet, seems more schematic than emotionally-driven, and a large part of that may simply be miscasting…Also detracting from the reality of the piece is a broadness in the playing of some of the subsidiary characters." Full Review
“What do you get when you team the greatest composer of Broadway’s Golden Age with the man who would essentially create the modern American musical? Unfortunately, you get the pallid, static mishmash that is ‘Waltz’...The resulting show is thoroughly professional in its craft, but devoid of inspiration…The songs in ‘Waltz’ are always professional, sometimes inspired, but rarely transportive.” Full Review
"Many shows that look on paper like they shouldn’t work have nevertheless been brought to glory by terrific stagings. 'Do I Hear a Waltz?' is not one of those; it’s the opposite. The conflicts and compromises that leave their marks on its material are subtractive, not additive, making it very difficult to pull off...The staging, by Evan Cabnet, was frequently awkward and generally monotonous. It was, of course, sung well." Full Review
“The score is extremely uneven. Half of the songs show signs of the acerbic wit that Sondheim would employ to great effect five years later in ‘Company’ while the rest are uninspired, hollow ballads. Laurents’ book contains an interesting protagonist...but the storytelling is often static and sleep-inducing. As directed by Evan Cabnet, this is an elegant production of a work that is better off left in the drawer, as a footnote to Sondheim’s unparalleled career.” Full Review
See it if you want to witness the epic collaboration of Sondheim, Rodgers & Laurens. Classic musically perfectly executed!
Don't see it if you don't love the more classical end of the musical theater catalog.
See it if You love Sondheim if you love Melissa Erico if you want to sees rarely produced show if you want perfection
Don't see it if You want a happy feel good musical. This has a dark side.
See it if You like music of Richard Rogers and Stephen Sondheim, 1960's musicals, Melissa Erico, liked the film Summertime.
Don't see it if You like full scale productions. You like modern rock musicals. You waqnt all the bells and whistles.
See it if You love the objective of Encores! You adore Sondheim, but wish his music was more "tuneful." You miss the 1950s/60s and love travel.
Don't see it if You care most about the book of a musical. You love Sondheim for the music he writes. You only like the modern musicals on Broadway now.
See it if You like classic musicals with a beautiful score & great story. Performances are excellent, realistic story, one of my fav shows @ Encores!
Don't see it if You don't like old fashioned musicals or need a fairytale ending. I enjoyed the very realistic approach to the story.
See it if Early Sondheim wit & late Rodgers romance. Top theatre professionalism. Cosmic Karen Ziemba. Sonorous Richard Troxell. Encores right on!
Don't see it if No interest in old-fashioned and flawed curiosities from our American musical theatre heritage.
See it if Beautiful old fashion music. Great voices and talent. Some eternal, some surprising themes and blunt psychological treatment.
Don't see it if You don't like concert productions, prefer your endings tied neatly & would rather avoid controversial themes. It ends like real life would.
See it if Fantastic casting, thoughtful staging, luminous Melissa Errico; Rogers/Sondheim completists
Don't see it if Lack of thrills, Adequate to very good songs without a true memorable song, realism may be a turn-off for escapists
See it if Not great Rodgers -- not great Sondheim. But this is what Encores does and I'm grateful for it. The Laurents book reminded me of him - nasty
Don't see it if The orchestra sounded great. Clay Elder is always a delight. The operatic tenor Troxell was powerful. The dancer Devin Roberts is a fave.
See it if It's gone now, but I was happy to see the show after liking the score all these years from the recording. The book and the score don't mesh.
Don't see it if The songs are often forced into the story and formulaic, but there are some beauties: Take the Moment, Do I Hear a Waltz, We're Gonna Be All
See it if you want to see a piece by two masters - Sondheim and Rodgers - that is a rare miss. Some lovely songs, but troubling book. Doesn't quite
Don't see it if you are easily annoyed by a book that doesn't quite work, or by a lead female character that has faults and is not always likeable
See it if you are curious about this rarely staged Rodgers/Sondheim musical. Delightful, strong performances, another Encores! triumph.
Don't see it if you are looking for the best work from either of these musical theater greats. Charming though not substantial; a rare musical delight.
See it if The music. So many gems. Cute costumes. Charming and funny if lacking depth and understanding of material. Worthwhile for theatre buffs.
Don't see it if you want a perfect show. This production also struggles with tone and direction. The performances are just OK. Weak choreography.
See it if you want to see late Rogers and/or early Sondheim; appreciate "old school" musicals done well; tuneful music sung well
Don't see it if you don't like City Center's Encore semi-staged style and/or don't like actors performing with scores in hand
See it if /for sensuous dancing evoking romance of Venice, tuneful Rogers score, Sondheim's brilliant lyrics, hilarious sarah stiles steals show
Don't see it if want to see an edgy musical with high production values; still, play is surprisingly grown up in portrayal of European sex outside marriage
See it if You love Italy, traveling, culture differences, strong female leads, beautiful dancer, Sondheim's cynicism with Romance tied in.
Don't see it if You have a hard time seeing the dark side of romance. You need happy endings.
See it if you've even been curious about the show. It's great to hear the score. Not sure why it is a musical at all, though.
Don't see it if you insist on things being great from top to bottom. This isn't a homerun at all - but fascinating for musical theatre fans.
See it if You want to see great performances of a little known musical. Lovely music, but a little old-fashioned. The story is sad.
Don't see it if you want perfection. Rodgers lyrical score clashes with the cynicism of the book, better if Sondheim wrote the music as well as the lyrics.
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