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The IT Girl Reviews

The critics raved about the 2001 New York premiere of The IT Girl.

IRRESISTIBLE MELODIES. A perky little musical! With a sprightly, savvy score by Paul McKibbins, smarty-pants lyrics by BT McNicholl... the show as a whole makes frivolity a virtue. Jean Louisa Kelly, who performs with fetching pizazz, and Jonathan Dokuchitz who is excellent, sing beautifully together. Mr. McKibbins has a pleasing, consonant touch with a song. His main tools are sweetness and pep and fine sense of how to pay homage without actually borrowing. His songs are as innocently seductive as a pretty schoolgirl batting her eyelashes. They are complemented by Mr. McNicholl's lyrics, which are often rhymed with a wink and tend to be character affirming in a comic vein. And they mainly strike the same giddy notes as Mr. McNicholl's direction. "The IT Girl"... is a very pleasant surprise.

-- Bruce Weber, New York Times

Let me ENTHUSIASTICALLY RECOMMEND A TOTAL CHARMER of a Jazz Age musical. It may be small in scale, but it's HUGELY EFFECTIVE. The new musical has a neat, very witty book by Michael Small and BT McNicholl, brisk staging by McNicholl himself, and lovely performances by a madly protean cast. This is the Off-Broadway musical at its traditional... best. NOT TO BE CASUALLY MISSED.

-- Clive Barnes, New York Post

When you've got it, flaunt it... and the charming new musical "The IT Girl" has plenty to flaunt. FUNNY, FROTHY TUNES. The lively score is by Paul McKibbins and BT McNicholl. An engaging production that also boasts a solid supporting cast.

-- Robert Dominguez, New York Daily News

A BREEZY MUSICAL, A FUNNY VALENTINE to the Jazz Age. Jean Louisa Kelly is utterly charming. THIS GIRL IS IT!

-- Melissa Rose Bernardo, Entertainment Weekly

BT McNicholl and Paul McKibbins have collaborated on a witty and CHARMINGLY ACCESSIBLE SET OF SONGS that give us a clearer idea of what "It" is than any prose could hope to achieve.... Almost as appealing as the cast is the bouncy McKibbins score and the clever character-revealing lyrics by McNicholl, ranging from the "Mama's Arms" lullaby to the "Step Into Their Shoes" dance celebrating the rollicking, care-free aura of the pre-crash '20s. THIS FEEL-GOOD MUSICAL with a cast that has "It" COULD MAKE IT ANYWHERE.

-- Steve Parks, Newsday

ALL THE ELEMENTS GEL. The book is full of endearingly corny one-liners and displays a satisfying disregard for plausibility. The actors appear to delight in the silliness of it all. Danette Holden is particularly fine, while Stephen DeRosa confirms that he's one of New York's funniest actors. With its old-fashioned good humor and cheerful élan, "The IT Girl" does a better job at evoking the gee-whiz spirit of Broadway's golden age than many revivals.

-- Elisabeth Vincentelli, Time Out

CHEERFUL. The score, with music by Paul McKibbins and lyrics by BT McNicholl, PERCOLATES PLEASANTLY, particularly a catchy number entitled, what else? "It".... Kelly moves well, and Robert Bianca has devised some witty dances for her and the other performers. Jonathan Dokuchitz... brings a square-jawed solidity and a strong voice. Jessica Boevers grabs some laughs. …The musical is practically stolen by Stephen DeRosa in the minor role of Monty Montgomery, a ne'er-do-well who does very well by this show. The production, designed by Mark Nayden, LOOKS TERRIFIC, particularly the backdrops of old photos of New York City that place the musical in its proper time period with a minimum of fuss and A MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF STYLE. 'The IT Girl"... comes through with low-key charm.

-- Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press

I zipped over to see if "The IT Girl" had it -- and, boy, does it ever! Wonderful little show. IT'S A DANDY. A fine cast of soon-(I hope)-to-be-notables. Jean Louisa Kelly is cute as a button. Lots of corny one-liners are thrown around, which only adds to the fun, and there's sprightly, BRIGHT MUSIC by Paul McKibbins. I WOULD SERIOUSLY LOOK FOR 'THE IT GIRL' TO HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE. It's well worth the effort to see this MARVELOUS little musical that may MAKE IT BIG.

-- David F. Richardson, WOR 710 AM

The creators of the new musical "The IT Girl" have approached their source material with TREMENDOUS RESPECT…. Paul McKibbins... recalls pop classics of the period without mimicking them. McNicholl is at his jingoistic best with the catchy title "It" song. Elsewhere, his lyrics are equally  FUN.... Mark Nayden's black-and-white set designs, together with Robin L. McGee's equally muted costumes, are WONDERFULLY EVOCATIVE. As director, McNicholl shows flair for staging musical numbers, with a visit to Coney Island a particular roller-coaster treat. Stephen DeRosa has "it" as well as everything else.

-- Robert Hofler, Variety

IMPRESSIVE. VERY CLEVER LYRICS. RICHLY THEATRICAL MELODIES. Michael Small & BT McNicholl have raised the level of conflict to better hold our attention. Inventively directed. Nifty costumes designed by Robin L. McGee. There is A WINNING SENSE OF FUN about the piece. "The IT Girl" isn't camp or parody... this is one of those delightful musical theatre experiences in which a song can suggest the Midway or touch the heart. Jean Louisa Kelly is... stunningly pretty. The rest of the cast is swell. Jonathan Dokuchitz is endearing. Stephen DeRosa is sensational. Monte Wheeler pulls off every single role with spectacular élan. DEFINITELY WORTH SEEING.

-- Barbara & Scott Siegel,

A BON BON of a musical, DELICIOUSLY CONCOCTED AND NEATLY BOW-TIED. A PURE DELIGHT, not only for the performances and the score, dances and costumes, but because it is perfectly done -- not a gesture out of place, nor a line that doesn't seem in sync with that flapper era. PERFECTLY CONSTRUCTED. Casting is perfect. A quaintly funny script in the lingo of the time. The show is SO ENERGIZING I believe I danced several blocks on the street -- ready to break into a Charleston of my own!

-- Jeannie Lieberman, Fire Island Tide

SO ENTERTAINING THAT ONE WISHES IT WOULD GO ON LONGER. "The IT Girl" has an awful lot going for it. Jean Louisa Kelly... has it. A MELODIOUS SCORE that fits the tongue-in-cheek melodramatic spoof of the old silent flicks. The dance arrangements and the playful choreography by Robert Bianca are perfectly in tune. Clever lyrics. Silly book. Virtue, innocence, chaste bangs and our heroine prevail. Monte Wheeler is terrific. Susan M. Haefner does wonders. Danette Holden is suitably snooty. But the star is the IT girl. Her smile and perky grace are enough to qualify for IT Girl heaven. IF TICKETS FOR 'THE PRODUCERS' ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO GET, 'THE IT GIRL' IS THE NEXT BEST THING.

-- Gene Kilik, Town & Village

The York Theatre Co. is on a roll. They've topped them all with "The IT Girl." SPRIGHTLY NEW MUSICAL COMEDY (emphasis on the comedy, emphasis on the musical) is, like "The Producers," a throwback to a different era when musicals featured girls, gags and 'hummable' songs. Musical comedy is back; and aren't we all glad! EXUBERANTLY GOOFY PLOT. The book ingeniously allows a cast of seven to fill the entire stage with a city of characters. The lyrics and music fit the pastiche style of the book to a Model T. Jean Louisa Kelly has "it" indisputably. AN 'AUDIENCE SHOW'... A FEEL-GOOD EXPERIENCE FOR ONE AND ALL.

-- D.L. Lepidus, The Westsider

EXCITING TO SEE how much ENERGY AND FUN can be generated by a cast of seven and A TUNEFUL NEW TAKE on the Cinderella theme. The composer, lyricist and book writers have turned this saga of love imperiled and triumphant into a valentine. Paul McKibbins' score is a tuneful blend of musical revue, jazz and ragtime. BT McNicholl's lyrics are SASSY. The CATCHY TITLE SONG is reprised several times, but it's worth reprising, as are the over dozen other songs -- each one building character and moving the story forward. McNicholl also directs with PANACHE. He and his design team have underscored the show's tie to silent films with a stylish palette. Robin L. McGee's costumes shout Roaring Twenties. Silent movie sequences by Steve Smith add to the nostalgic fun. The cast is top notch. Jonathan Dokuchitz sings well and is aptly handsome. Stephen DeRosa is amusing as ever. "The IT Girl" could become its own Cinderella story.

-- Elyse Sommer, Curtain Up

DELIGHTFUL, FUNNY, TONGUE-IN-CHEEK MUSICAL in which a very talented cast spoofs class conflict and snobbery of the 1920s. Authors Michael Small and BT McNicholl make amends for such politics with their CLEVER REPARTEE. Paul McKibbins' music is enlivened with ragtime and Charleston beats knocked out by a tuneful combo. The voices are excellent. Robert Bianca's SPIRITED CHOREOGRAPHY WOULD FLY ON BROADWAY. The set is enriched by Elaine J. McCarthy's projections of old photos. Jean Louisa Kelly is a FETCHING, ANIMATED Betty. Stephen DeRosa throws off sparks.

-- Lucy Komisar, The American Reporter

I MUST HAVE THE ORIGINAL CAST ALBUM! RIGHT NOW! A loving look at the days when silent movies were made. GOOD LORD, CAN THIS PAUL McKIBBINS WRITE GENUINE MUSICAL THEATRE MUSIC! A PLETHORA OF MELODY. Robert Bianca has given "The IT Girl" some of the most generous production numbers in town, wonderfully danced by a tremendously talented cast. Elaine J. McCarthy's projection designs here are stunning. LONG ON YOUTH AND EXUBERANCE. Delicious lines. BT McNicholl has directed slickly and brilliantly. Jean Louisa Kelly is sassy and brassy, and has the most wonderful musical comedy moves. Waltham is not only well-played by Jonathan Dokuchitz, but he sure looks the part. Actually, they all do. I enjoyed Stephen DeRosa... as well as Jessica Boevers who has nifty showstopper, "A Perfect Plan." Danette Holden made me laugh in delight. When the nominations start coming out for various awards, let's not forget "The IT Girl."

-- Peter Filichia,

DELICIOUS. The musical promises and delivers a visit to a bygone age. Animated book. Energetic music. Entertaining lyrics. Captures the spirit of the period. McNicholl moves the action at a rapid pace; his changes from reality to fantasy are fluid and effective. The set by Mark Nayden, costumes by Robin L. McGee, lighting by Jeff Nellis and projection design by Elaine J. McCarthy situate the action simply and imaginatively. Jean Louisa Kelly charms the audience with her warm smile and considerable talent. Stephen DeRosa adds another sublime role to his resume. These two actors certainly have "it."

-- Thomas Gentile, WELH 88.1 FM

BT McNicholl, aided by Steve Smith, creates very successful effects of silent film, and the dancing has MUCH STYLE AND JOY. Thanks to the songs, the story proceeds with speed and a sense of fun. It is clear the actors are enjoying themselves. THE AUDIENCE ENJOYS IT, TOO. A BEAUTIFUL SUCCESS.

-- Mario Fratti, Italian Voice

A CHARMING, ENERGETIC MUSICAL. LOADED WITH BOUNCY, AMUSING SONGS and the versatile seven performers, accompanied by a sprightly five-piece musical group, inject the show with spirit and good-will as they turn typical plot clichés of the period into FROTHY FUN. Jean Louisa Kelly definitely has "it." She sings well, moves gracefully and is the embodiment of charm. ENDEARMENT MIXED WITH COMEDY. Jonathan Dokuchitz is just right. McNicholl directs inventively, with clever use of limited stage space and the benefit of Robert Bianca's smart choreography. Jerry Zaks served as production consultant, and the musical shows the kind of zippiness one associates with his work. The show manages to look as if it came straight out of the period so affectionately recalled, which enables us to enjoy the old-fashioned plot without mocking it. And how can one not like this pleasing company?

-- Wolf Entertainment

A VORACIOUS SPOOF. The vehicle MOVES WITH ALACRITY. Everybody in the cast is somebody else and more. Funny stuff. Hand claps for Jean Louisa Kelly. Superlative support from the remaining six. TIDY TUNES, CLEVER LYRICS. "The IT Girl" is interesting and WORTH YOUR ATTENTION!

-- Gary Stevens, WVOX

"The IT Girl"... HAS CERTAINLY GOT MORE THAN ITS SHARE. Creative and funny nickelodeon sequences staged by Steve Smith. Stephen DeRosa in a delightfully foppish comic turn. The songs, with a strong '20s beat, are charming. ….There are PLENTY OF LAUGHS to be found. Jessica Boevers... devours "A Perfect Plan" with such delight and builds the drama and comedy to its hilarious conclusion so well, it becomes the highlight of the show. McNicholl, McKibbins and Small have created a musical that manages to make the concept of ‘IT’ BELIEVABLE, ENTERTAINING, WARM, CHARMING AND FUNNY.

-- Matthew Murray, Talkin' Broadway

THE DIALOGUE'S ECONOMY KEEPS THE SHOW TIGHT; song cues feel neither shoehorned nor extraneous. I LOVED THE '20s VERNACULAR: "Applesauce!"... "She's all wet"... "Cork it up, old fizz." The performances match the aspirations of the show's creators, beginning with Kelly's sunny smile. She... never lacks for spunk or heart. Jonathan Dokuchitz brings an effortless, thoroughly handsome suavity on board, accented by his rich, plucky baritone. Stephen DeRosa gets the pick of the one-liner litter, displaying his unparalleled gifts for comic timing anew. Jessica Boevers makes the 'It' Girl's rival... a Jeanne Eagels-like knockout vamp, especially in her showstopper, 'A Perfect Plan.' PLENTY OF BOOTLEGGY SASS.

-- Leonard Jacobs, Back Stage

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