In Shepherd Express writer John Schneider’s preview of The Boulevard Theatre’s Pal Joey opening at South Milwaukee PAC, he describes what concert staging means and gives a bit of history about the piece. Here’s an excerpt:
“Concert staging” means a script-in-hand but fully acted performance accompanied by piano and staged efficiently. The focus is entirely on script, music and performers. It’s an excellent and now-popular way to experience the best rarely produced works of the American musical theater. Pal Joey has a special place in that history as the last complete show by the seminal team of Rodgers and Hart (Rodgers soon teamed up with Oscar Hammerstein). It’s a knockout work that’s both of and well ahead of its time. Panned by uncomprehending New York critics at its 1940 opening (an experience from which Hart never recovered), it was deemed a work of genius by some of the same critics at its 1950 revival, seven years after Hart’s demise. Read the full preview.