Start Spreading the News! “New York, New York” Hits Broadway

Broadway’s latest sensation, New York, New York, has arrived. The first preview took place in March 2023 at the St. James Theatre on Broadway, marking its world premiere, and was followed by the official opening date in April 2023. The musical is loosely based on the 1977 Martin Scorsese film of the same name. Featuring some of the songs written for the film by John Kander and Fred Ebb, the dynamic duo behind Cabaret and Chicago, the production also presents additional lyrics by famed Broadway composer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

It is 1946, World War II is over, and a resurgent New York City is rebuilding, along with a group of artists with immense passion and diverse demographics. Among them is Francine Evans, a young singer from Philadelphia who ventures to Manhattan for work; she is played by the emerging talent Anna Uzele. Fresh off the bus, Evans finds herself crossing paths with Jimmy Doyle (played by acclaimed actor Colton Ryan), a jazz musician mourning the death of his brother who died in the war. The story also weaves in the narratives of Mateo Diaz, a determined Cuban immigrant pursuing his musical aspirations, and Madame Veltri, a violin teacher who extends her guidance to a Polish refugee student, along with an ensemble of other talented musicians and singers. Sadly, none of these characters make much of an impression, yet they still collectively strive for the return of art, music, and culture, aiming to mend the wounds inflicted by the war’s trauma. 

Through its heartfelt storytelling, the musical captures the struggles, triumphs, and resilience of a group of New Yorkers as they come together to chase their dreams of music, money, and love. Naturally, the show culminates with the beloved Frank Sinatra classic “New York, New York,” delivered exquisitely by Uzele, leaving the audience enraptured.

I recently attended a preview of New York, New York, and I have mixed opinions. The spectacle aspect of the show was truly remarkable; the production values were simply breathtaking. The sets transported the audience to the heart of New York City, while the costumes added an extra layer of authenticity and flair. The music was enchanting, and every member of the cast delivered stellar performances. One particular scene that stood out was when the men showcased their remarkable talent, singing and tap dancing atop scaffolding at a bustling construction site, creating a breathtaking marvel. Additionally, the production included an unforgettable close as Ryan skillfully played multiple instruments. Each minute of New York, New York is buzzing with life, as the main characters present their personal dreams while members of the ensemble tell clever visual stories that amplify the vibrant energy of the city. 

However, the plot was less enthralling. The show faltered in its main storyline, which felt disappointingly underdeveloped. At times, it was difficult to stay engaged in the show. Surprisingly, it was the subplots that were more intriguing than the main plot, but unfortunately, they, too, suffered from underdevelopment and were not appropriately balanced with the main plot. Occasionally, characters suddenly appeared without much context or introduction, leaving me slightly confused. Despite its flaws, New York, New York still managed to deliver a memorable experience, particularly for those seeking a visual and auditory escapade.

While New York, New York discusses serious social issues affecting 1946 New York City, its main objective is to present to the audience an entertaining, moving show with dancing, belting, dazzling sets and costumes, and an outrageous finale. Overall, if you are seeking a musical with a compelling story, you may want to avoid New York, New York. However, if you yearn for a grand, enjoyable, traditional Broadway experience, then New York, New York is the musical for you!