Seesaw is back on the boards, thanks to the J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company. This brand new theater company, co-founded by The Disney Channel creator Jim Jimirro, is presenting the first of three disparate shows from the archives of musical theater (1962’s No Strings and A Class Act from 2000 will follow).
You Seesaw is a delightfully quirky tuner from 1973 which follows the love life of Jerry Ryan (Andy Tighe), a young lawyer from Omaha, Nebraska who is going through a divorce. Upon arriving in New York, he falls in love with a “rough around the edges” dancer named Gittel Mosca (Stephanie Israelson).
Originally a two hander play from William Gibson, one wonders what inspired a more fully fleshed production. Now, it’s stuffed with random citizens of New York, along with Gittel’s gay best friend, David (J Savage). While it’s not Cy Coleman’s finest score, it still has his signature jazz style and good, old-fashioned production numbers like, “It’s Not Where You Start.” Michael Bennett, two years prior to A Chorus Line, choreographed. Here, it is designed by Caitlin Belcik who keeps her cast in visually pleasing, perpetual motion on Theater Row’s modest stage. It’s quite an accomplishment given the limited space she’s forced to work with. Bennett also contributed to the show’s book, but an uncredited Neil Simon ultimately put his classic zingers in the mix.
Director Robert W. Schneider has assembled an immensely talented cast, many of whom are making their New York City and/or Off Broadway debuts. While Seesaw is a work with a distinct vintage feel and many of the cast members appear a bit too young for the roles of hardened New Yorkers, this is still one theater company to follow.
Savage, a talented triple threat. is a particular stand-out as the sterotypical flamboyant friend. Tighe and Israelson offer great stage chemistry and the rest of the cast is completely engaging and fun to watch. With Jimirro and co-founder Schneider’s passion and guidance, there’s a good chance that they are nurturing some future Broadway stars and allowing musical theater lovers the opportunity to see some rare gems from Broadway’s yesteryear.
Seesaw runs on Theatre Row (West 42nd between 9th and 10th avenues). For tickets and more info, check out J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company.