IRRESISTIBLE MELODIES. A perky little musical! With
a sprightly, savvy score by Paul McKibbins, smarty-pants lyrics by
BT McNicholl... the show as a whole makes frivolity a virtue. Jean
Louisa Kelly, who performs with fetching pizazz, and Jonathan Dokuchitz
who is excellent, sing beautifully together. Mr. McKibbins has a pleasing,
consonant touch with a song. His main tools are sweetness and pep
and fine sense of how to pay homage without actually borrowing. His
songs are as innocently seductive as a pretty schoolgirl batting her
eyelashes. They are complemented by Mr. McNicholl's lyrics, which
are often rhymed with a wink and tend to be character affirming in
a comic vein. And they mainly strike the same giddy notes as Mr. McNicholl's
direction. "The IT Girl"... is a very pleasant surprise.
-- Bruce Weber, New York Times
Let me ENTHUSIASTICALLY RECOMMEND A TOTAL CHARMER
of a Jazz Age musical. It may be small in scale, but it's HUGELY
EFFECTIVE. The new musical has a neat, very witty book by
Michael Small and BT McNicholl, brisk staging by McNicholl himself,
and lovely performances by a madly protean cast. This is the Off-Broadway
musical at its traditional... best. NOT TO BE CASUALLY MISSED.
-- Clive Barnes, New York Post
When you've got it, flaunt it... and the charming new musical "The
IT Girl" has plenty to flaunt. FUNNY, FROTHY TUNES.
The lively score is by Paul McKibbins and BT McNicholl. An engaging
production that also boasts a solid supporting cast.
-- Robert Dominguez, New York Daily News
A BREEZY MUSICAL, A FUNNY VALENTINE to the Jazz Age.
Jean Louisa Kelly is utterly charming. THIS GIRL IS IT!
-- Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly
McNicholl and Paul McKibbins have collaborated on a witty and CHARMINGLY
ACCESSIBLE SET OF SONGS that give us a clearer idea of what
"It" is than any prose could hope to achieve.... Almost
as appealing as the cast is the bouncy McKibbins score and the clever
character-revealing lyrics by McNicholl, ranging from the "Mama's
Arms" lullaby to the "Step Into Their Shoes" dance
celebrating the rollicking, care-free aura of the pre-crash '20s.
THIS FEEL-GOOD MUSICAL with a cast that has "It"
COULD MAKE IT ANYWHERE.
-- Steve Parks, NEWSDAY
ALL THE ELEMENTS GEL. The book is full of endearingly
corny one-liners and displays a satisfying disregard for plausibility.
The actors appear to delight in the silliness of it all. Danette Holden
is particularly fine, while Stephen DeRosa confirms that he's one
of New York's funniest actors. With its old-fashioned good humor and
cheerful élan, "The IT Girl" does a better job at
evoking the gee-whiz spirit of Broadway's golden age than many revivals.
-- Elisabeth Vincentelli, Time Out
CHEERFUL. The score, with music by Paul McKibbins
and lyrics by BT McNicholl, PERCOLATES PLEASANTLY,
particularly a catchy number entitled, what else? "It"....
Kelly moves well, and Robert Bianca has devised some witty dances
for her and the other performers. Jonathan Dokuchitz... brings a square-jawed
solidity and a strong voice. Jessica Boevers grabs some laughs. …The
musical is practically stolen by Stephen DeRosa in the minor role
of Monty Montgomery, a ne'er-do-well who does very well by this show.
The production, designed by Mark Nayden, LOOKS TERRIFIC,
particularly the backdrops of old photos of New York City that place
the musical in its proper time period with a minimum of fuss and
A MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF STYLE. 'The IT Girl"... comes through
with low-key charm.
-- Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press
I zipped over to see if "The IT Girl" had it -- and, BOY,
DOES IT EVER! Wonderful little show. IT'S A DANDY.
A fine cast of soon-(I hope)-to-be-notables. Jean Louisa Kelly is
cute as a button. Lots of corny one-liners are thrown around, which
only adds to the fun, and there's sprightly, BRIGHT MUSIC
by Paul McKibbins. I WOULD SERIOUSLY LOOK FOR 'THE IT GIRL'
TO HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE. It's well worth the effort to see
this MARVELOUS little musical that may MAKE
-- David F. Richardson, WOR 710 AM
The creators of the new musical "The IT Girl" have approached
their source material with TREMENDOUS RESPECT….
Paul McKibbins... recalls pop classics of the period without mimicking
them. McNicholl is at his jingoistic best with the catchy title "It"
song. Elsewhere, his lyrics are EQUALLY FUN.... Mark
Nayden's black-and-white set designs, together with Robin L. McGee's
equally muted costumes, are WONDERFULLY EVOCATIVE.
As director, McNICHOLL SHOWS FLAIR FOR STAGING MUSICAL NUMBERS,
with a visit to Coney Island a particular roller-coaster treat. Stephen
DeRosa has "it" as well as everything else.
-- Robert Hofler, VARIETY
IMPRESSIVE. VERY CLEVER LYRICS. RICHLY THEATRICAL MELODIES.
Michael Small & BT McNicholl have raised the level of conflict
to better hold our attention. Inventively directed. Nifty costumes
designed by Robin L. McGee. There is A WINNING SENSE OF FUN
about the piece. "The IT Girl" isn't camp or parody... this
is one of those delightful musical theatre experiences in which a
song can suggest the Midway or touch the heart. Jean Louisa Kelly
is... stunningly pretty. The rest of the cast is swell. Jonathan Dokuchitz
is endearing. Stephen DeRosa is sensational. Monte Wheeler pulls off
every single role with spectacular élan. DEFINITELY
-- Barbara & Scott Siegel, Theatermania.com
A BON BON of a musical, DELICIOUSLY CONCOCTED
AND NEATLY BOW-TIED. A PURE DELIGHT, not only for the performances
and the score, dances and costumes, but because it is perfectly done
-- not a gesture out of place, nor a line that doesn't seem in sync
with that flapper era. PERFECTLY CONSTRUCTED. Casting
is perfect. A quaintly funny script in the lingo of the time. The
show is SO ENERGIZING I believe I danced several
blocks on the street -- ready to break into a Charleston of my own!
-- Jeannie Lieberman, Fire Island Tide
SO ENTERTAINING THAT ONE WISHES IT WOULD GO ON LONGER.
"The IT Girl" has an awful lot going for it. Jean Louisa
Kelly... has it. A MELODIOUS SCORE that fits the
tongue-in-cheek melodramatic spoof of the old silent flicks. The dance
arrangements and the playful choreography by Robert Bianca are perfectly
in tune. Clever lyrics. Silly book. Virtue, innocence, chaste bangs
and our heroine prevail. Monte Wheeler is terrific. Susan M. Haefner
does wonders. Danette Holden is suitably snooty. But the star is the
IT girl. Her smile and perky grace are enough to qualify for IT Girl
heaven. IF TICKETS FOR 'THE PRODUCERS' ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO GET,
'THE IT GIRL' IS THE NEXT BEST THING.
-- Gene Kilik, Town & Village
The York Theatre Co. is on a roll. They've topped them all with "The
IT Girl." SPRIGHTLY NEW MUSICAL COMEDY (emphasis
on the comedy, emphasis on the musical) is, like "The Producers,"
a throwback to a different era when musicals featured girls, gags
and 'hummable' songs. Musical comedy is back; and aren't we all glad!
EXUBERANTLY GOOFY PLOT. The book ingeniously allows
a cast of seven to fill the entire stage with a city of characters.
The lyrics and music fit the pastiche style of the book to a Model
T. Jean Louisa Kelly has "it" indisputably. AN 'AUDIENCE
SHOW'... A FEEL-GOOD EXPERIENCE FOR ONE AND ALL.
-- D.L. Lepidus, The Westsider
EXCITING TO SEE how much ENERGY AND FUN
can be generated by a cast of seven and A TUNEFUL NEW TAKE
on the Cinderella theme. The composer, lyricist and book writers have
turned this saga of love imperiled and triumphant into a valentine.
Paul McKibbins' score is a tuneful blend of musical revue, jazz and
ragtime. BT McNicholl's lyrics are SASSY. The CATCHY
TITLE SONG is reprised several times, but it's worth reprising,
as are the over dozen other songs -- each one building character and
moving the story forward. McNicholl also directs with PANACHE.
He and his design team have underscored the show's tie to silent films
with a stylish palette. Robin L. McGee's costumes shout Roaring Twenties.
Silent movie sequences by Steve Smith add to the nostalgic fun. The
cast is top notch. Jonathan Dokuchitz sings well and is aptly handsome.
Stephen DeRosa is amusing as ever. "The IT Girl" could become
its own Cinderella story.
-- Elyse Sommer, Curtain Up
FUNNY, TONGUE-IN-CHEEK MUSICAL in which a very talented cast
spoofs class conflict and snobbery of the 1920s. Authors Michael Small
and BT McNicholl make amends for such politics with their CLEVER
REPARTEE. Paul McKibbins' music is enlivened with ragtime
and Charleston beats knocked out by a tuneful combo. The voices are
excellent. Robert Bianca's SPIRITED CHOREOGRAPHY WOULD FLY
ON BROADWAY. The set is ENRICHED by Elaine
J. McCarthy's projections of old photos. Jean Louisa Kelly is a FETCHING,
ANIMATED Betty. Stephen DeRosa throws off sparks.
-- Lucy Komisar, The American Reporter
I MUST HAVE THE ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM! RIGHT NOW!
A loving look at the days when silent movies were made. GOOD
LORD, CAN THIS PAUL McKIBBINS WRITE GENUINE MUSICAL THEATRE MUSIC!
A PLETHORA OF MELODY. Robert Bianca has given "The IT
Girl" some of the most generous production numbers in town, wonderfully
danced by a tremendously talented cast. Elaine J. McCarthy's projection
designs here are stunning. LONG ON YOUTH AND EXUBERANCE.
Delicious lines. BT McNicholl has directed slickly and brilliantly.
Jean Louisa Kelly is sassy and brassy, and has the most wonderful
musical comedy moves. Waltham is not only well-played by Jonathan
Dokuchitz, but he sure looks the part. Actually, they all do. I enjoyed
Stephen DeRosa... as well as Jessica Boevers who has nifty showstopper,
"A Perfect Plan." Danette Holden made me laugh in delight.
When the nominations start coming out for various awards, let's not
forget "The IT Girl."
-- Peter Filichia, Theatre.com
DELICIOUS. The musical promises and delivers a visit
to a bygone age. Animated book. Energetic music. Entertaining lyrics.
Captures the spirit of the period. McNicholl moves the action at a
rapid pace; his changes from reality to fantasy are fluid and effective.
The set by Mark Nayden, costumes by Robin L. McGee, lighting by Jeff
Nellis and projection design by Elaine J. McCarthy situate the action
simply and imaginatively. Jean Louisa Kelly charms the audience with
her warm smile and considerable talent. Stephen DeRosa adds another
sublime role to his resume. These two actors certainly have "it."
-- Thomas Gentile, WELH 88.1 FM
BT McNicholl, aided by Steve Smith, creates very successful effects
of silent film, and the dancing has MUCH STYLE AND JOY.
Thanks to the songs, the story proceeds with speed and a sense of
fun. It is clear the actors are enjoying themselves. THE AUDIENCE
ENJOYS IT, TOO. A BEAUTIFUL SUCCESS.
-- Mario Fratti, Italian Voice
A CHARMING, ENERGETIC MUSICAL. LOADED with BOUNCY,
AMUSING SONGS and the versatile seven performers, accompanied
by a sprightly five-piece musical group, inject the show with spirit
and good-will as they turn typical plot clichés of the period
into FROTHY FUN. Jean Louisa Kelly definitely has
"it." She sings well, moves gracefully and is the embodiment
of charm. ENDEARMENT MIXED WITH COMEDY. Jonathan
Dokuchitz is just right. McNicholl directs inventively, with clever
use of limited stage space and the benefit of Robert Bianca's SMART
CHOREOGRAPHY. JERRY ZAKS served as production
consultant, and the musical shows the kind of zippiness one associates
with his work. The show manages to look as if it came straight out
of the period so affectionately recalled, which enables us to enjoy
the old-fashioned plot without mocking it. And how can one not like
this pleasing company?
-- Wolf Entertainment
A VORACIOUS SPOOF. The vehicle MOVES WITH
ALACRITY. Everybody in the cast is somebody else and more.
Funny stuff. Hand claps for Jean Louisa Kelly. Superlative support
from the remaining six. TIDY TUNES, CLEVER LYRICS.
"The IT Girl" is interesting and WORTH YOUR ATTENTION!
-- Gary Stevens, WVOX
Paul McKibbins' BOUNCY SCORE SKIPS LIKE A ROCK ON THE SURFACE
OF THE STORY. Spirited rapid motion "flicker" slapstick.
Danette Holden strikes the right period notes. Stephen DeRosa romps
nimbly. A CHARM SHOW…
-- Adam Feldman, Broadway.com
IT Girl"... HAS CERTAINLY GOT MORE THAN ITS SHARE.
Creative and funny nickelodeon sequences staged by Steve Smith. Stephen
DeRosa in a delightfully foppish comic turn. The songs, with a strong
'20s beat, are charming. ….There are PLENTY OF LAUGHS
to be found. Jessica Boevers... devours "A Perfect Plan"
with such delight and builds the drama and comedy to its hilarious
conclusion so well, it becomes the highlight of the show. McNicholl,
McKibbins and Small have created a musical that manages to make the
concept of ‘IT’BELIEVABLE, ENTERTAINING, WARM,
CHARMING AND FUNNY.
-- Matthew Murray, Talkin' Broadway
THE DIALOGUE'S ECONOMY KEEPS THE SHOW TIGHT; song
cues feel neither shoehorned nor extraneous. I LOVED THE '20s
VERNACULAR: "Applesauce!"... "She's all wet"...
"Cork it up, old fizz." The performances match the aspirations
of the show's creators, beginning with Kelly's sunny smile. She...
never lacks for spunk or heart. Jonathan Dokuchitz brings an effortless,
thoroughly handsome suavity on board, accented by his rich, plucky
baritone. Stephen DeRosa gets the pick of the one-liner litter, displaying
his unparalleled gifts for comic timing anew. Jessica Boevers makes
the 'It' Girl's rival... a Jeanne Eagels-like knockout vamp, especially
in her showstopper, 'A Perfect Plan.' PLENTY OF BOOTLEGGY
-- Leonard Jacobs, Back Stage
AND OF THE NEWLY RELEASED CAST ALBUM...
THE IT GIRL (JAY Productions 1365; 56:10) GENIAL
MUSICAL. Paul McKibbins and McNicholl’s score is an
amalgam of ‘20s rhythms in “Why Not?,” “It,”
“Step Into Their Shoes,” and “How Do You Say...?”
with zippy, amusing lyrics. “Coney Island” is a wonderfully
nostalgic waltz – who knew they were still writing them? –
and “Mama’s Arms” is a sweet lullaby. McNicholl’s
lyrics are INTELLIGENTLY THOUGHT OUT, even when he
isn’t intentionally being clever. As Betty, Jean Louisa Kelly
(The Fantasticks film) is a charmer with a lovely, clear voice. Jonathan
Dokuchitz is her not quite four-square boss (it’s alright, Betty
puts him straight), displaying a strong leading man sound. Stephen
DeRosa (Into the Woods) is his fey friend, with Jessica Boevers (the
Oklahoma! revival’s Ado Annie), as the duplicitous Adela. Danette
Holden, Susan M. Haefner and Monte Wheeler complete the pocket-size
cast. McKibbins’ orchestrations for the six-piece orchestra
make it sound like several more than that.
-- Max Preeo, SHOW MUSIC magazine