By Sandi Durell
Visit the York Theatre and you’ll find yourself in the East Village in New York City in a storybook painted street design (by James Morgan), featuring Cudicini’s Italian Restaurant, a trendy bridal shop, a tattoo parlor and Little Harry, the current cook at the family restaurant that Big Harry (his dad) proudly runs.
Marry Harry is a sweet story, but nothing new on the scene. Girl meets boy, boy falls fast, girl pushes the envelope after she’s been ditched by her fiancé. There’s her pushy mom, who orchestrates her daughter’s life and . . . yes, a Greek chorus, the Village Voices, probably the best feature in this production.
To be more specific, Marry Harry has a book by Jennifer Robbins, with music by Dan Martin and lyrics by Michael Biello. Big Harry (Lenny Wolpe) has his own way of running an Italian restaurant; it’s by theme with a different menu everyday that incorporates various international foods. A little unusual, but it’s “Harry’s Way” giving rise to several songs filled with lyric lists that do make you chuckle (foods and countries and such). But Little Harry (David Spadora) wants out . . . he wants to be a Chef and is waiting to find out if he’s the chosen Sou Chef at Felidia’s (nice advertising for local fare), unbeknownst to Dad whose bubble is burst when he hears the news.
The concurrent story is that of young Sherri (Morgan Cowling), engaged, and trying on wedding dresses just down the street from Cudicini’s while her yappy, pain in the butt mother Francine (Robin Skye) makes all the decisions, including where her baby will live, honeymoon and when she’ll be having her first grandchild. It’s enough to make you cringe and . . . go up on stage and slap her into reality. But, alas, that eventually gets accomplished when Sherri finds out her beau is having an affair – it’s OK isn’t it because they’re not married yet, says her intended on the phone . . . giving rise to songs like “Newly Wed” and “Almost.” Mind you, just about every song is mimicked-repeated by the Village Voices (Ben Chavez, Jesse Manocherian, Claire Saunders) – the Greek Chorus who sing and dance their way through and provide some real amusing moments, along with many costume changes designed by Tyler M. Holland.
It doesn’t take long for Sherri to rebound right into Little Harry’s bed and, in the blink of an eye, they’re engaged. Sherri, a smart marketer (in more ways than one), after tasting grandma Nonna’s family Biscotti recipe, is ready to embark in a new business with Big Harry to package and sell them. All seems fine as love blooms until the next morning when, suddenly, the bloom is off the rose. Francine tracks down her missing daughter and Little Harry takes a second look at what’s going on causing him to have other thoughts, as the two young folks are reminded they are almost “Thirty!”
The running theme song “A New Day” (#1, #2, #3) updates and furthers the storyline. What will happen to Little Harry and Sherri now? Will they go off into the sunset, he a Sou Chef at Felidia’s, she making millions with Big Harry on Nonnina’s Biscotti?
There are some laughs, some pleasant songs, but there’s no edge to this story or ah ha moments.
Directed and choreographed by Bill Castellino, with music direction by Eric Svejcar, it’s a cute, feel-good story that will leave you wanting.
Marry Harry – The York Theatre Company at Saint Peter’s (619 Lexington Avenue at E. 54th Street), runs 80 minutes thru May 21, 2017 www.yorktheatre.org