Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.
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October 31-November 6, 2002

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Pal Around

In this, the year of what would have been Richard Rodgers' 100th birthday, it's refreshing to find a Rodgers & Hart show being presented in place of the omnipresent Rodgers & Hammerstein classics. The Prince Music Theater mounts a rare revival of the sardonic Pal Joey this Saturday.

"This is juicier and grittier," says Trent Dawson, who plays the title character. "There's a lot of dirt and sexuality. I find myself saying, ŒWow, they were saying that back in 1940?'" Dawson knows about sexual plots from his work on daytime TV drama (he's a regular on As the World Turns), not to mention his work in 20 Shakespearean productions. Joey is a nightclub hoofer who steps on people on his way to fame. Vera's the rich, older woman from whom Joey makes connections and takes money and sex. "She's a good teacher," says Dawson. Christine Andreas plays the society dame who picks Joey to be her boy-toy and sings how she's "vexed, perplexed and over-sexed again."

Joey is hard to take, according to Dawson. "He's something like a 14-year-old boy, impulsive and myopic but charming."

Gene Kelly originated the role in 1940 and Bob Fosse was a memorable Joey in 1961. Frank Sinatra starred in the 1957 movie version that eliminated the character's dancing. Rodgers and Hart, working with George Abbott, based their musical on a series of articles that John O'Hara wrote for The New Yorker. When the show opened, New York Times writer Brooks Atkinson called it sordid and foul, but he printed a retraction when the show was revived a decade later.

Pal Joey, Nov. 2-17, $25-45, Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St., 215-569-9700.

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