The chance to revisit Carolyn Leigh's cleverly intricate lyrics and Elmer Bernstein's occasionally zestful music for How Now, Dow Jones, now getting a revisal at the Minetta Lane Theatre, is always welcome. The team's tunes (with admirable arrangements for piano from musical director Fran Minarik) and a pair of utterly winning performances from Cristen Paige and Colin Hanlon are the elements that make this production a notable and often enjoyable endeavor.
Paige plays Kate, whose beau Herbert (a sweetly nerdy Elon Rutberg) is stalling their nuptials until the Dow hits 1000, while Hanlon plays Charley, a hapless guy from upstate who's come to New York to make his fortune, but found only failure. Whenever he and Paige -- who both deliver the songs with vocal panache -- are together their chemistry sparkles, and as the couple weathers their on-and-off romance, one cheers for them.
Unfortunately, other significant performances aren't of this caliber. Cori Silberman's turn as Cynthia, Kate's brash best friend, often feels amateurish. Silberman confuses cutesy aggressiveness with tart shrewdness, and as a result, the show's second-tier romance, between Cynthia and William Foster Wingate (capably but unremarkably rendered by Fred Berman), a handsome CEO who keeps her as a mistress, founders.
The performers' unevenness undermines some of director Ben West's fine revisions to the original two-act Broadway musical. West has not only trimmed the show to a breezy 90 minutes, but he has also reintroduced cut songs (notably "Don't Let a Good Thing Get Away") and eliminated others. Dance numbers -- plentiful in the original -- have also been streamlined, now performed by a pair of traders (Shane Bland and Dennis O'Bannion, who execute Rommy Sandhu's choreography with flair). Indeed, one senses that this new version might allow this charmer to enjoy a wider popularity.
-- Andy Propst