High Button Shoes
High Button Shoes
73

High Button Shoes NYC Reviews and Tickets

73%
(67 Reviews)
Positive
72%
Mixed
21%
Negative
7%
Members say
Dated, Entertaining, Fluffy, Funny, Disappointing

About the Show

For their final Encores! production of their 75th anniversary season, City Center presents Jule Styne’s rarely-seen musical comedy about the misadventures of two charismatic conmen.

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Member Reviews (67)

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84
Fun!, Broad humor, Melodious score, Long, Fluffy

See it if you like old-fashioned silly musicals. Lots of singin/dancin. Plot is gossamer thin. Urie/Wolfe delight. Orchestra shines. Clever staging.

Don't see it if you want meaty works. Occasnly, too much of a gd thing; needs cuts. JR ballet is historic curiosity; soft shoe great. Chase scene dazzles!

69
Dated, Indulgent, Fluffy, Great staging, Cliched

See it if Flashy production numbers are the major stand-out in early Styne vehicle Robbins choreo provides added oomph Urie tries hard but strains

Don't see it if Vaudevillian roots show to detrimental effect 2nd act totally falls apart despite Wolfe/Gregory duet But these shows are why Encores exists!

Critic Reviews (17)

The New York Times
May 9th, 2019

"The entire production seems to take place under a double glaze of nostalgia...Urie gives a characteristically skillful performance, but it feels pasted on…That ballet aside, none of the musical numbers land with the impact that makes audiences clap their hands raw, although I enjoyed Mr. Loehr’s and Ms. Hull’s artfully awkward take on the tango. And the jokes are more likely to make you smile politely than laugh out loud."
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The Observer
May 15th, 2019

“The endless first act has no coherence, no charm, and lots of puerile jokes...The...score is derivative and second-rate. The Encores! performances were efficiently shticky—only Kevin Chamberlin as Floy’s rotund sidekick was three-dimensional. As for the Bathing Beauty Ballet itself, it lived up to its huge reputation, even though the stage of the City Center was too small for it: it looked reduced. But in the middle of the mess that is ‘High Button Shoes’, it shone with the light of genius.”
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AM New York
May 9th, 2019

''High Button Shoes' is hardly ever performed nowadays. And this weekend, musical theater junkies can learn why thanks to a lumbering and tiring concert revival…Much of the plotting is clunky and outright baffling, and the so-so score lacks any songs that are well-remembered today…'High Button Shoes' lacks the substance to justify a professional revival…Then again, with more inspiration and better comic ingenuity, 'High Button Shoes' might have at least been more fun."
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Theatermania
May 9th, 2019

"An assortment of enthusiastic actors lost in a sea of passé jokes and just-OK songs. And then something happens...when it all comes together for 10 or so fleeting minutes of heaven...It is an antic delight, and I would encourage any musical theater aficionado to see it. I'd also encourage Encores! to just present this sequence and cut the rest of the show...The jokes land with a thud, the pacing is lugubrious...The production just isn't ready for prime time, and that extends to the actors."
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BroadwayWorld
May 10th, 2019

"That crazy cacophony of choreographic chaos that careens across the City Center stage shortly after the commencement of Act II is the main reason for Encores! to bring back the smash hit 1947 musical comedy...Not exactly a forgotten gem...A pleasant, though not especially distinguished collection of generic ballads and novelty numbers...Urie is indeed a charismatic performer...but director John Rando has him mimicking Silvers, and...it didn't seem a comfortable fit."
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Talkin' Broadway
May 8th, 2019

"'Has not withstood the test of time...That it makes little sense as it careens from scene to disconnected scene is as gentle a way as I can put it. Under John Rando's direction, almost every flaw is emphasized, while the show's strengths are downplayed...There are some very good songs scattered here and there...The rest of the cast try to rev things up with lots of frenzied mugging, but snake oil is still snake oil, no matter how you package it."
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New York Stage Review
May 9th, 2019

"Where the current staging falls flattest is in the star performance...Without a strong star performance, all that’s left in this 'High Button Shoes' is the 'Bathing Beauty Ballet.' And that’s not enough to support the evening. Nor does the rest of the cast capture the ragtag style the show calls for...The music, at least, is impeccably handled. Rob Berman leads the Encores orchestra with such flair that during the rambunctious overture the show sounds like a hit. But not for long."
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Theater News Online
May 9th, 2019

"Seventy years after 'High Button Shoes' ended a 727-performance stroll on Broadway, the show hasn’t been back there. An enervating Encores! revival at New York City Center provides clues as to why, even as it showcases songs filled with fizz and wit...Director John Rando’s staging reminds that shoes, high button or otherwise, and comedy require perfect fits – or there will be stumbles...a game Michael Urie strains for laughs, while Betsey Wolfe is too 2019 for a story set in 1913."
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TheaterScene.net
May 20th, 2019

"But, fear not! The Encores! creative team-director John Rando, music director, Rob Berman and choreographer Sarah O'Gleby-found a terrific cast led by Michael Urie in the Phil Silvers' role of Harrison Floy and Betsy Wolfe as Sarah Longstreet...In addition to O'Gleby's terpsichorean contributions, this staging included the additional bonus of two dances choreographed by Jerome Robbins (staged by O'Gleby) who won his first Tony for his contributions to this musical."
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Theater Pizzazz
May 10th, 2019

"As for the score, composer Jule Styne and lyricist Sammy Cahn expended all their efforts on numbers for the show's secondary characters. The most successful of them, the infectious polka-flavored 'Papa, Won't You Dance with Me,' and 'I Still Get Jealous' belong to the young Longstreet parents, Sara and Henry, who are played with extreme charm and grace by Betsy Wolfe and Chester Gregory. It's certainly possible you may leave City Center humming those tunes."
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Front Row Center
May 18th, 2019

"Encores! does its best with a consistently dazzling orchestra, a talented bill of stars, and the best dancers in showbiz. What results is often a very finely polished antiquity with one or two redemptive qualities. Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn’s 'High Button Shoes' is this formula at its most underwhelming...With no timeless standards, the score falls flat."
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Stage Left
May 10th, 2019

"While Mr. Urie is a fine actor and a consummate clown, he is unable to provide the anchor that this show needs for success...The score—Styne’s first for the stage—sounds lovely in the hands of the 27 piece Encores! orchestra...but the skill of Cahn’s clever and humorous lyrics far exceed the achievement of Styne’s music, which is largely as unremarkable as the story...The highlight of the entire evening, and the reason for catching this production, is the stunning act two opener."
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T
May 9th, 2019

"Urie is funny and appropriately the big center of attention in this show. The humor verges on titillatingly naughty...The big reason to revisit 'High Button Shoes' is for the choreography of the 'Bathing Beauty Ballet'...I find it hard to make an argument for 'High Button Shoes' as a great musical. There are some very good songs...If you care to take a swim in musical theater history where football and vaudeville could amusingly coexist on stage, 'High Button Shoes' is worth the plunge."
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The Wrap
May 10th, 2019

“The ‘Bathing Beauty Ballet’ near the top of Act 2 of ‘High Button Shoes’, a classic 1947 musical comedy that opened...as part of NY City Center’s Encores! revival series, is indeed a show-stopper, choreographed to well-timed perfection...Would that the rest of the production had such verve — because it would help to paper over a show that’s about as substantial as cotton candy, dissipating almost the moment you taste it...The thin plot is supplemented by vaudeville-ish side bits.”
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I
May 9th, 2019

“While the show does have a charming score...it pretends to be nothing more than pure fluff...The 'Bathing Beauty Ballet'...is a complete delight and almost worth the price of admission in itself...Unfortunately, everything else...is uninspired and falls flat. Curiously, the cast is devoid of life and chemistry despite the presence of some well-credentialed performers...It’s not that terrible, but just okay for this marquee series isn’t nearly good enough.”
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New York Theatre Guide
May 13th, 2019

“Encores! does its best...What results is often a very finely polished antiquity with one or two redemptive qualities...‘High Button Shoes’ is this formula at its most underwhelming...But with no timeless standards, the score falls flat, and even at its best...it comes off as silly and dated...The lifeline of the show, in classic Encores! tradition, is its dance."
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Reclining Standards
May 13th, 2019

"Michael Urie is a charmer for sure, and it was fun to watch him channel the great Phil Silvers. That comic’s flint-edged style isn’t a natural fit for Urie, but he made a game try and exuded personality...Even the couple of hit songs that come from this show aren’t especially strong. Both would have sunk without a trace in a better musical. Which leaves Jerome Robbins’ choreography. Again, it’s far from his best work...It was a lame finish to a wan Encores! season."
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