Superman inhabits an urban sector of the same despairing landscape as Hands on a Hard Body, only here the despair is sociological, not economic. And unlike job-starved rural Texas, crime-ridden, neurasthenic Metropolis has that secret ingredient, the Man of Steel, with his speeding-bullet flight skills and x-ray eyes. A mad scientist (David Pittu) and an envious gossip columnist (Will Swenson) plot to destroy Superman (Edward Watts), trying everything from a leaky nuclear reactor to a quartet of Chinese acrobats, whose multiple cartwheels, choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, send the show into hyperspace, where it easily equals Spider-Man's aerial combats.

Keep in touch: the Hands on a Hard Body cast
Chad Batka
Keep in touch: the Hands on a Hard Body cast

Location Info


Brooks Atkinson Theatre

256 W. 47th St.
New York, NY 10036

Category: Theaters

Region: West 40s


Hands on a Hard Body
By Doug Wright, Amanda Green, and Trey Anastasio
Brooks Atkinson Theatre
256 West 47th Street

It's a Bird . . . It's a Plane . . . It's Superman
By David Newman, Robert Benton, Lee Adams, and Charles Strouse
City Center Encores!(Closed)

Naturally, Superman foils their nefarious plans, with encouragement from Lois Lane (Jenny Powers) and the columnist's lovelorn sidekick (Alli Mauzey), though it would take x-ray vision to make total sense of the events in Jack Viertel's slapdash editing of the original David Newman–Robert Benton script. Lee Adams's uneven lyrics often perk up into wit but as often backslide into a prosiness that weighs down Charles Strouse's bouncy tunes—which derive extra bounce from Eddie Sauter's ultra-cool orchestrations. Superman is not quite a top-drawer show, but it's tip-top second-drawer work. Though probably not sufficiently frenetic for today's Broadway, its solemnity-free cynicism is right up to date, and its best melodies shine like jewels next to the aural paste of most current shows.

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