Country boy seeks success in Tin Pan Alley in 1929.
Mary Whipple | New England | 01/02/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"There's a good reason that this is one of the lesser known entries in the Broadway Theater Archives. It is so dated that even with a stellar cast, including Jack Cassidy, Estelle Parsons, Susan Sarandon, and Stephen Sondheim, it fails to engage the viewer except as a period piece, a curiosity which illustrates what constituted "humor" and "theatrical excitement" in 1929, when it was first produced. Showcasing the frantic drive for a hit by Tin Pan Alley composers and lyricists, this show might have been considered amusing and even creative in 1929, but by 1974, when this production was filmed (and certainly by the present day), styles had changed, and audiences had become more sophisticated.
Despite its cast and well-filmed scenes, the show features characters who are so stereotyped, and a plot that is so trite, that the production fails to connect with the audience--every aspect of plot and character is obvious from the beginning. A sweet, naive young man (Tom Fitzsimmons), who wants to be a lyricist, takes the train from Schenectady to New York City, befriending a wide-eyed and innocent young woman (Lee Meredith) on the train. He meets a composer (Jack Cassidy) whose career is on a downslope, the composer's bored wife (Estelle Parsons), and her voracious and flamboyant sister (Susan Sarandon). As the young man begins to become successful, he, not surprisingly, finds Eileen (Sarandon) far more exciting than his sweet girlfriend from the train (Meredith), though Eileen, not surprisingly, is taking him for every penny she can get her hands on.
Though it would be possible to play this show broadly as a spoof or as a satire, this production, directed by Burt Shevelove and Kirk Browning, plays it straight. Written by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner, for whom this show was his only Broadway success, the production's brightest spot is the appearance of a very young Stephen Sondheim in a minor role as a wise-cracking pianist. The Broadway Theater Archives has preserved for posterity a spectacular assortment of important plays from the sixties and seventies, all starring well known actors. This production is not one of its best selections. Mary Whipple
Just to see Sondheim acting
A. ANDREOPOULOS | 07/26/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
""June Moon" is not much of a play. Accually, I can hardly understand why would somebody want it in his archive. It's not among Susan Sarandon's best moment (no fault of her) nor Kassidy has something special to say. It's actually a not bad performance of an easy to forget play. Well, why then do I rate it with 3 stars instead of proper 1? The answer is simple: Stephen Sondheim. The only reason somebody would pay any attention to this play, is just to see Mr. Broadway Musical to act (not bad at all!) and play the piano. I thing that only Sondheim maniacs should care about this dvd.
But be careful: "June Moon" is no musical and there are no Sondheim songs. That's why I've written that this dvd would interest Sondheim's maniacs instead of Sondheims funs. There 's a diffrence between admiration and psychosis.
I've seen the play in TV, but I wouldn't bother purchasing it. As a matter of fact I hardly would go to the theatre to watch it. But if someday it would be transmitten again, I surely would watch it again gladly. Just for the unusual actor who plays the part of the pianist. Just to see Stephen Sondheim acting."