Come Up 'N' See Me
The Bonnie Lee Sanders/Ellen Schwartz/ Bianca Leigh musical “Come Up ‘n’ See Me” channels Mae West in an edgy, tuneful biopic of one of the most important performers of the first half of the 20th century. Debbie Gravitte, a Tony winner for “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway,” not only belts out the story with Sanders' and Schwartz's original songs to conjure up Mae West’s style, but, in her body language and inflection, she persuades you she is the vampish, tough-talking “dame” who filled music halls and occasionally a jail cell for getting on the wrong side of the censors. The story recreates Mae West's life, starting in vaudeville and going all the way to her triumph in Hollywood movies. With ten other fine musical actors, playing everyone from Louella Parsons to W.C. Fields, this production, which I saw at a reading at the York Theatre, is directed by Crystal Chapman with musical direction by Tom Spahn. It is a winner.
Lucy Komisar is a theater critic for New York Theatre-Wire and a member of the Drama Desk.