Starring: Richard Kind; Author: Stephen Sondheim

After being worked, reworked, and then some, the new Stephen Sondheim musical once known as ”Wise Guys,” then called ”Gold,” has finally arrived at D.C.’s Kennedy Center as ”Bounce.” And while it’s less than sublime, reports of its flaccidness have been greatly exaggerated. This true-life tale of the Mizner brothers (schemers who made and lost several fortunes at the turn of the last century) is a smart, breezy, globe-trotting celebration of pure American pluck. Sondheim’s songs may not be groundbreaking or spine-tingling, but they are warm, welcomely melodic throwbacks to earlier works like ”Merrily We Roll Along” and ”Saturday Night.” Eugene Lee’s vintage-postcard sets are sparse but clever. And the cast is funny and sharp, particularly Richard Kind (”Spin City”). ”Bounce” is a less cynical, less cerebral piece than we’d expect from the legendary team of Sondheim and director Hal Prince. But its spirit of resilience – its belief in ”bounce” – is undeniably contagious. (800-444-1324)

Originally posted November 21 2003 — 12:00 AM EST

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