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Cagney The Musical NYC – Review
Hollywood star James Cagney captured the nation’s hearts in the 1930s and 40s. As a dancer, singer, actor, and all round vaudevillian, Cagney impressed on the stage and screen. He won fans through his versatile performances in musicals, crime dramas, and comedies. Indeed, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor and was nominated twice more for the honor. Cagney the musical is a true testament to his life and work.
The Broadway production begins with a series of flashbacks depicting Cagney’s early life. The son of an Irish bartender in New York, Cagney’s early days were spent working the mean streets and trying to be good to his mother. He moves on to an illustrious stage career where, amongst other peaks, he meets the love of his life, Willie. From there, the pair relocate to Hollywood where he finds mainstream success while fighting for unions and shaking off accusations of communism. The musical handles these stories with aplomb, introducing them alongside rip-roaring music and dance numbers. The cast handle these roles swimmingly and give life to their performances of songs such as “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
Creighton, who stars as Cagney, also wrote the original musical pieces in the musical alongside Christopher McGovern. This lends an authenticity and commitment to the show that is evident throughout. He even reproduces Cagney’s signature tap dancing style with relative ease. Cagney is one of the newer releases of old-timey musicals about famous Americans, but it’s a valuable addition to the canon. Cagney’s most famous moments are energetically depicted, giving the show a riveting sense of vitality. This high-energy tale of a tough guy made good is a real audience pleaser that shouldn’t be missed.
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