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'Paint Your Wagon' Theater review

Jenni Barber and Keith Carradine in

Jenni Barber and Keith Carradine in "Paint Your Wagon." Photo Credit: Joan Marcus

City Center's Encores! series continues its characteristically excellent work in revisiting the overlooked musicals of yesteryear with its weekend-long concert-style revival of "Paint Your Wagon," which boasts a rich score by the writers of "My Fair Lady" and "Camelot" that includes the standards "They Call the Wind Maria" and "Wan'drin Star."

Set in 19th century California, it concerns an aging gold prospector (a well-cast Keith Carradine, full of country flavor) and his teenage daughter (Alexandra Socha, in a breakout performance), who falls for a lonely, sensitive Mexican worker (Justin Guarini, showing off a strong tenor voice).

If "Paint Your Wagon" is uneven and problematic on quite a few levels, the songs (gloriously played by a full-size orchestra) are quite beautiful and the characters are endearing. It's worth noting that the stage version is very different than the downright stupefying 1969 film adaptation with Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.

If you go: "Paint Your Wagon" plays through Sunday at City Center. West 55th Street between Sixth and Seventh aves., nycitycenter,org.


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