(Frank Gaglilano’s review was posted 11/22.)

Tracey Brigden’s commissioning Willy Holtzman’s “Smart Blonde” for this year’s Pittsburgh “City Theatre” season, turned out to be a smart move. Last night’s “Smart Blonde” opening was (as the critics like to say) a triumph (or, as my saintly mother would have said: "one for the books!") 

Not only was Willy’s work up to Willy’s high standards — with his usual mix of drama, comedy, character, shameful American politics and, in this case, songs from the American Songbook — but the piece introduced (to me at least) a stunning musical theatre actress, Andrèa Burns. Besides her dramatic and comic abilities in chaneling Judy Holliday, her singing was a knockout — her singing highs, for me, the heart breaking Irving Berlin classic, “What’ll I Do?” and Harry Warren and Al Dubin's joyous, “Lulu’s Back In Town” — a number that also showed Ms Burns’s ability to kick up her heels. 

Adam Heller and Jonathan Brody played all the other characters — switching between each character on a dime and with ease (with Brody accompanying all the songs on piano, a talent and ability that always amazes me) — all happening on Tony Ferrieri’s evocative recording studio set, and with everything — in this 80 minute intermissionless piece — staged in the intimate Hamburg space with clarity and pace, by the deft hand of director Peter Flynn.  

Again,Tracey — smart move. . . 


© 2014 by Frank Gagliano.  All rights reserved.

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