GEORGE REMUS, a New Musical presented by The Carnegie through Aug. 28. I attended the opening Sunday performance. Please note that GEORGE REMUS, a New Musical is being done in rotation with INTO THE WOODS and RENT.
The Carnegie completes its summer theatrical hat-trick with the enjoyable staging of a new musical showcasing Cincinnati’s “King of the Bootleggers.”
Mike Sherman is excellent in the titular role, bringing a great balance of arrogance and charm to the character. Eliza Levy, who stood out in the ensemble of RENT, shines as Remus’ money-loving second wife, Imogene. Kate Mock Elliott makes some fun choices in her portrayal of Mabel Walker Willebrandt, the U.S. Assistant Attorney General doggedly pursuing Remus. From top to bottom, the cast boasts solid performances and strong vocals throughout.
The music and lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman are well-suited to the show and time-period. It would have been nice to have a number or two that more strongly integrated with the script to forward the action a bit more. “There Once Was a King” is pretty, but it and its variations became a bit repetitive for me.
The script by Joe McDonough is well-done and engaging, certainly piquing my interest in the character and his history. I did find it odd that Ned Gillespie’s fate was not mentioned in the final moments and, unable to find anything about him online I can only assume the character was created for the musical. If that is the case, I’m not sure his relationship subplot is worth the time it takes away from Remus’ story. Also if what I found online is correct, the changing of the confrontation in Eden Park doesn’t well-reflect the animosity between the George and Imogene.
Overall a strong and engaging look at one of Cincinnati’s most notorious criminals.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Please note that tickets for GEORGE REMUS are selling extremely well and only four performances remain.
I’d also like to say congratulations to Theatre Director Maggie Perrino and everyone involved with The Carnegie’s Summer Series for their success on what is hopefully an inaugural repertory line-up. All three productions featured excellent casting with a super talented core of performers plus show specific-additions. Further scenic designer Tyler Gabbard should be praised for the ingenious versatility of his set design across all three shows.
Click here for more information on the production.