Composer and lyricist Jonathan Brielle was joined by a host of Broadway stars to give an intimate Birdland audience a sneak peak of the new James Joyce inspired musical “Himself and Nora” and other works in “I Saw Broadway.”
Brielle joined by his crack-backing band, expertly led by musical director and pianist Jeff Klitz, treated the audience to a selection of numbers from his repertoire including “40 Naked Women, a Monkey, and Me” and “Nightmare Alley.” Joining Brielle on vocal duty was Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys), Whitney Bashor (Bridges of Madison County), Veanne Cox (American in Paris), and Rose Hemingway (How to Succeed…).
In what was a fun and humor-inflected evening inspired by Brielle and his witty and poignant lyricism, the standout performance of the night came from Whitney Bashor playing Nora–the wife and muse of 20th century Irish writer James Joyce, and the character that lends her name to Brielle’s newest musical “Himself and Nora.”
Bashor put in a heartfelt on the small stage singing the songs “Stand Fast” and “Without a Man.” Bashor’s co-star Matt Bogart also performed with the numbers “Land of Erin” and “Always in Love,” giving the audience a broader picture of the upcoming show.
“Himself and Nora” looks to be an intriguing and exciting new take on one of the last century’s most lauded but under-read authors–Joyce, who in many ways was a man before his time, as can be seen in his views on gender roles, masculinity, and the institution of marriage. The unconventional aspects of Joyce and Nora’s marriage and life partnership is an element to this musical that has contemporary relevance considering the discussions and battles over what it is to be married – and to whom – in modern society.
Brought to life by charismatic Broadway leads in Bashor and Bogart, “Himself and Nora” looks set to be a romantic, literary, and memorable musical that is well worth seeing when it opens at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York City on May 14.
Tickets for “Himself and Nora” are already on sale. Make sure you get ahead of the game. Purchase a ticket while you can . . . as from this preview, it looks like this has the right recipe to be a hit with audiences.