Stage Review

What's It All About? Bacharach Reimagined (2013)

WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? BACHARACH REIMAGINED
Image credit: Joan Marcus
WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? BACHARACH REIMAGINED
EW's GRADE
B

Details Opening Date: Dec 05, 2013; Lead Performance: Kyle Riabko; Writers: Burt Bacharach, Hal David; Director: Steven Hoggett; Genre: Musical

The most romantic thing in the world used to be a guy serenading you while he played the guitar. (Or maybe holding up a boom box while Peter Gabriel serenades you.) But director Steven Hoggett raises the bar in What’s It All About? Bacharach Reimagined at Off Broadway’s New York Theatre Workshop: Kyle Riabko sings ''Making Love'' to Laura Dreyfuss as they’re pressed together slow-dancing and plays the guitar that’s hanging on her back. It’s completely swoon-worthy, and even the most hard-hearted viewer — the one who’s sworn ''I'll Never Fall in Love Again'' — will want to cut in and share a dance with the sweet-voiced Riabko.

The twentysomething Riabko is the wonderfully appealing star/cocreator/musical director of What’s It All About, a creatively cluttered revue roughly three dozen Burt Bacharach gems ''reimagined'' for the Spring Awakening generation. Translation: Seven fresh-faced, musically ambidextrous actors play their own instruments, perform tight minimalist choreography by Hoggett (Once, Black Watch), and loll about on couches between songs. (Oh yes, the thrift-store-chic couches! They provide on-stage seating for a small group of audience members as well.)

All of the Oscar- and Grammy-winning composer’s best-known hits are present and accounted for. A ukulele-led ''Close to You'' is particularly charming, though a mid-show psychedelic interlude is a major downer. What’s that all about?

One warning: Don’t dash out after the curtain call. There is an encore, and it’s super-groovy. B

(Tickets: TicketCentral.com or 212-279-4200)

Originally posted Dec 05, 2013
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