|You’re probably never going to see a better production of Anyone Can Whistle than the concert version Encores! at City Center that’s become one of the hottest tickets in New York. Under the imaginative direction and choreography of Casey Nicholaw and featuring an exemplary cast, the show is fascinating in its wild ambition.
– Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press, April 2010
I can’t think of a better reason for City Center Encores! to exist than to perform Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’s flawed, frustrating, but intermittently fantastic and absolutely fascinating 1964 flop musical [Anyone Can Whistle]. The fact that no other theater company would or could present the show with the same production values is what makes Encores! truly essential.
– Matt Windman, AM/New York, April 2010
Fanny is Encores! at its best: a long-neglected show brought back to vibrant life by a winning cast. It reminds you why you fell in love with musicals in the first place. Encores! just reminded us that it’s not necessarily the song or even the writer, but how everything clicks into a whole. This Fanny is a perfect fit.”
– Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Post, February 2010
The music making is thrilling. The orchestra has never played with more style, finesse and rhythmic bite… The seriously talented musicians in the Encores! orchestra make us feel anew the excitement in the music, the bright melodiousness matched to surging rhymic vitality. You don’t exactly leave Girl Crazy humming the orchestrations, but you come pretty close.
– Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, November 2009
[On the Town] This exuberant antidote to an imminent recession included that impeccably spirited Bernstein score, those New York-loving lyrics, and an ensemble that could sing the daylights out of both. It was also a reminder of how a full-size orchestra (here, 30 musicians) is worth every penny it costs.
– New York Magazine, Top Ten of 2008
Encores! is indispensable.
– Time Out/New York, February, 2008
The New York City Center Encores! series, which opened its 15th season late last week with Applause, is not only laudable for presenting classic musicals as originally scored, but vital to maintaining the integrity of the musical theater tradition.
– Susan Elliott, MusicalAmerica.com, February 2008
Patti LuPone stopped the show cold at her first entrance in Monday’s performance of Gypsy. No sooner did she march up the aisle of City Center shouting “Sing Out, Louise!” than the sold-out house popped its collective cork. Not only will Ms. LuPone be remembered as the Mama Rose of her generation, but every other aspect of this production is as good as it can be. Point for point, it’s the best revival of a golden-age musical I’ve seen, in or out of New York. Staging, casting, design, even the orchestra: All are gloriously, exhilaratingly right.
– Terry Teachout, The Wall Street Journal, July 2007
Let’s just face the facts: the best musical in town is the City Center Encores! revival of Irving Berlin and Moss Hart’s Face the Music, which is directed with glowing freshness by John Rando, choreographed with lilt and snap by Randy Skinner, conducted smartly by Rob Fisher and played with stylish vim by a superlative cast of Broadway stalwarts, led by Judy Kaye and Walter Bobbie.
– David Finkle, Theatermania, April 2007
The unforgiving economics of Broadway and the challenging nature of the material make a full-scale revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies about as likely as Florenz Ziegfeld’s resurrection. So given that sad reality, this emotionally raving Encores! staging might be the most gratifying consolation prize musical theater loves could hope for. Cast to near perfection and directed with precision and sensitivity by Casey Nicholaw, the superlative presentation puts a fresh shine of the reputation of a brilliant, troubled work.
– David Rooney, Variety, February 2007
[Of Thee I Sing] is ... one of the silliest and yet most sublime things on a New York stage right now. With a terrific cast led by the estimable Victor Garber, a charmingly pert Jennifer Laura Thompson, and an absolutely priceless Jefferson Mays, this is the most polished and entertaining Encores! presentation in recent memory.”
– Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, May 2006
In its 15-year existence, Encores! has evolved into the city’s most beloved institutions for musical theater by producing concerts of classic American musicals with starry casts and full orchestras.
–Matt Windman, AM New York, May 2006