Wednesday, Dec. 07, 2011

Death Takes a Holiday

This charming musical, which had a short and unheralded off-Broadway run during the summer, seems from another era. Directed by Doug Hughes from a 1929 play (later a film starring Frederic March) about the Grim Reaper's trip to earth to find out why humans love life so much, has an old-fashioned, operetta-style formality that you don't see much any more. The book (by Peter Stone and Thomas Meehan) takes its time to actually create characters and builds to a truly moving climax, while composer Maury Yeston (Nine, Titanic) has served up a lovely, often soaring score. Death deserves to live on.