42nd Street Moon’s ‘Nanette’ taps into fun

The furniture gets moved out of the way in the New York home of almost-millionaire Jimmy Smith to make room for his wife Sue and the chorus boys’ effervescent tap number in 42nd Street Moon’s production of the 1920s musical “No, No Nanette.”

The dance is part of Jimmy’s big song, “I Want to be Happy,” one of the show’s two hits, and its sentiment and cheer pervade the delightful confection from start to finish.

The 1925 farce about three couples has a slight, silly book (by Otto Harbach and Frank Mandel, adapted by Burt Shevelove for a successful 1971 revival), but it doesn’t really matter.

The chipper score by Vincent Youmans (music), Irving Caesar and Harbach (lyrics) offers catchy tunes that go down easy, and 42nd Street Moon choreographer Nicole Helfer not only has the flappers flapping, but the full cast hoofing up a storm.

Director Cindy Goldfield keeps everything light, working with great comics and singers: a dainty Samantha Rose is the young title character, who wants to live it up before she gets married and Andrew Mondello is Tom, her attentive suitor. (They’re terrific in the show’s other hit, “Tea for Two.”)

Michael Patrick Gaffney is Nanette’s uncle, the sweet, aforementioned Jimmy, who, in his need to stay happy, gets into seemingly compromising situations with three single gals not afraid to blackmail him; and Lee Ann Payne is Sue, his no-nonsense wife, who knows nothing of her hubby’s activities.

Energetic Abby Haug and Mark Farrell portray their friends Lucille and Billy Early; she’s an opinionated shopper, and he, as Jimmy’s attorney, tries to mitigate his client’s indiscretions by paying off the girls: Flora (Andrea St. Clair, also the dance captain), Betty (Samantha Pistoresi) and Winnie (Danielle Cheiken).

Of course, unbeknown to each other, they all end up at the Smith cottage in Atlantic City, a place for fun in the sun – the charming Act 2 opener “Peach on the Beach” has Nanette and the chorus wearing swimsuits and tossing beach balls in the audience — and a place where everything ultimately works out.

An excellent four piece band – pianist/music director Dave Dobrusky, Nick Di Scala on winds, Aaron Priskorn on trumpet and Tim Vaughan on drums — provides toe-tapping accompaniment.


No, No Nanette
Presented by 42nd Street Moon
Where: Eureka Theatre, 215 Jackson St., S.F.
When: 7 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 6 p.m. Saturdays, 3 p.m. Sundays; closes May 14
Tickets: $28 to $75
Contact: (415) 255-8207, www.42ndstmoon.org

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