Fluorescent lighting and a standard, floor length mall-mirror make for the tiny torture chamber that is a department store dressing room.
Himself and Nora, now playing at the Minetta Lane Theatre in Greenwhich Village, though advertised as a “Robust Romantic Musical” has far more to offer audiences than just a story about two people in love. The “Himself” in the title refers to the central character James Joyce, played with swaggering charm and neuroticism by the talented Matt Bogart.
You wouldn’t know, however, that the musical had anything to do with the literary legend until stepping into the theatre or reading a review due to the focus marketing has steered towards portraying the love story, or rather ANY love story, in order to reign in a wider audience for this off-broadway commercial theatre endeavor.
The happy discovery upon 8 o’clock curtain, then, is that the musical tells an enchanting tale of James Joyce’s exile from Ireland, his endless pursuit of literary perfection in Ulysses, and the passionate, tumultuous relationship with his lifelong partner, Nora Barnacle (played with sensuous wit and grit by Whitney Bashor). All of this to the tune of composing veteran Jonathan Brielle’s upbeat, contemporary musical score which ranges from jig-inducing Irish step music to wistful, crowd-pleasing ballads.
The show runs through September 4 at Minetta Lane Theatre. You won’t want to miss this gem of a musical with some of Broadway’s finest talent in a theatre space as intimate and inviting as Minetta Lane, so get your tickets now at http://himselfandnoramusical.