The Woody Allen hit “Bullets Over Broadway” is more than your average 1920s mobster shootout. There are messages of artistic adequacy, fidelity, forgiveness and–most of all– not taking yourself too seriously.
Accompanied by the enormous sound of 1920s big band jazz, “Bullets Over Broadway” tells the scandalous story of a novice playwright getting mixed up in the big shots of the theater and inadvertently tied up with the mob.
As the show goes on, the plot gets more convoluted, and the main character finds himself in many instances where he is forced to make a choice between his old life as a starving, unsuccessful playwright living in his run down flat or the seductive and flashy life of Broadway.
The sets were immaculate. There were beautiful fronts of trains, a car parked at the waterside with lights emulating the reflection of the headlights in the water. The props were larger and more numerous than the previous couple of productions at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and it gave the show a classic “old movie” feel.
Through all of this beautiful, technical performance there was the feeling that this musical hasn’t taken itself completely seriously, and as soon as those feelings were starting to bubble to the surface, the eyes of the audience were met by the explosive cacophony of ridiculously obnoxious sing-songs about hot dogs– yes, hot dogs– brilliantly accompanied by nothing other than dancers in hot dog suits. This was greatly appreciated and answered by uproarious laughter, applause and clapping along to the hot dog anthem.
Magically, this break from the dark struggles of the playwright did not take away from the messages of the musical. Rather, they magnified the motifs, as any joke and any laughter helps a statement sink in. It was really smart way to let the audience have a break and reassess the situation through a more lighthearted lens. As always, the TPAC brought a world of enjoyment to its audience.
The production is showing through Nov. 15 at the TPAC. Tickets are on sale at TPAC.org and at the box office ranging from $20 to $65 dollars depending on seating.
This article was written by Erik Gleim.