The Verdict: Critics Review In Your Arms, With Donna McKechnie, at Old Globe | Playbill

The Verdict The Verdict: Critics Review In Your Arms, With Donna McKechnie, at Old Globe In Your Arms, a new "dance-theatre musical" from the composer of Ragtime and Seussical, officially opened Sept. 24 at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, CA.
George Chakiris, Donna McKechnie and company

The show, which has an original score by Stephen Flaherty (with lyrics by his longtime collaborator Lynn Ahrens on the title song), runs through Oct. 25.

The critics are filing their reviews, and will continue to update them for our readers.


Los Angeles Times

San Diego Union Tribune Variety


Newsies' Christopher Gattelli directs and choreographs. The show's ten vignettes have been written by an eye-popping lineup of award-winning librettists. Contributing scenes to the production are Douglas Carter Beane (Cinderella), Nilo Cruz (Anna in the Tropics), Christopher Durang (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike), Carrie Fisher, David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly), Rajiv Joseph (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), Terrence McNally (Ragtime), Marsha Norman (The Bridges of Madison County), Lynn Nottage (Ruined) and Alfred Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy).

An Eye-Popping First Look at the Old Globe's In Your Arms, Featuring a Team Boasting 18 Tonys and 2 Oscars!

In all, the company can claim 18 Tony Awards, four Pulitzer Prizes, six Pulitzer finalist distinctions, three Emmy Awards and two Academy Awards.

The show stars Donna McKechnie, a Tony winner for creating the role of Cassie in A Chorus Line, and George Chakiris, who earned an Oscar for playing the role of Bernardo in the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of West Side Story.

Also featured in the cast are Karine Plantadit (Tony nomination for Broadway’s Come Fly Away, Astaire Award for After Midnight), Hayley Podschun (Broadway’s Chaplin, Anything Goes, Pal Joey), Brendon Stimson (Broadway’s Newsies, Honeymoon in Vegas, West Side Story), Glenda Sol Koeraus (known internationally as “La Argentinita”), Ryan Steele (Astaire Award nominee for Broadway’s Newsies, Matilda The Musical, Billy Elliot: The Musical), Marija Juliette Abney, Stephen Bienskie, Henry Byalikov, Claire Camp, Spencer Clark, Jeremy Davis, Jenn Harris, Jess LeProtto, Adesola Osakalumi, Jonathan Sharp, Alex Michael Stoll, Samantha Sturm, Oscar Valero, Erica Wong and Lyrica Woodruff.

Here is a complete list of the show's vignettes and their authors and performers, from the opening night program:


Prologue: Spencer Clark and Lyrica Woodruff 

In Your Arms: Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Performed by Donna McKechnie with the Company

The Lover’s Jacket: By Nilo Cruz. Glenda Sol Koeraus and Oscar Valero with Henry Byalikov and The Company

Love with the Top Down: By Alfred Uhry. Hayley Podschun and Brendon Stimson

Lowdown Messy Shame: By Carrie Fisher. Jess LeProtto and Samantha Sturm with Jenn Harris and The Company

A Wedding Dance: By Lynn Nottage. Marija Juliette Abney and Adesola Osakalumi with The Company

Artists and Models, 1929: By Douglas Carter Beane. Jonathan Sharp and Ryan Steele with The Company

Life Long Love: By Marsha Norman. Henry Byalikov and Karine Plantadit with Stephen Bienskie

White Snake: By David Henry Hwang. Alex Michael Stoll and Erica Wong with The Company

Intergalactic Planetary: By Rajiv Joseph. Claire Camp and Jeremy Davis

The Dance Contest: By Christopher Durang, Lyrics by Christopher Durang. Stephen Bienskie and Jenn Harris with Henry Byalikov, Hayley Podschun, and The Company

Sand Dancing: By Terrence McNally. George Chakiris and Donna McKechnie with The Company

In Your Arms (Reprise): Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. Donna McKechnie with The Company

Here is how the show is described in press notes: "In Your Arms is a sweeping and romantic evening of theatre created by an unprecedented constellation of America’s preeminent writers for the stage. Ten dance vignettes tell wordless stories of love, yearning, and romance, and constitute a magical evening of movement and music performed by a cast of 22 talented dancers. Each vignette takes place in a different place and time, and the 10 dances range from duets to large ensemble numbers. Thrilling styles of dance from classical ballet to swing, tap to tango, rock ’n’ roll to Charleston, modern to jazz are celebrated with verve and nuance. The emotional canvas of the stories is vast: some are funny, some are sad, and some are enchanting, but all delve deep into that most essential of human emotions: love."


Read Christopher Gattelli's interview about the show.

"In Your Arms is one of the most romantic shows I’ve ever come across, and I am happy to bring it to San Diego audiences," said artistic director Barry Edelstein in a prepared statement. “Its creators are a group of top-rank theatrical talent, and the Globe is honored to host them. Stephen Flaherty’s lush and beguiling score weaves together a series of imaginative stories by an unprecedented gathering of writers to express the many moods and varieties of love. And wizardly director-choreographer Christopher Gattelli stages this material with a special magic: the potent and exuberant language of dance. Executing his vision is an astonishing company of celebrated performers whose credits dazzle as brightly as their talents. I’m thrilled to open our new season with such a fresh, original, and moving show."

The creative team includes Derek McLane (scenic design), Jess Goldstein (costume design), Donald Holder (lighting design), Peter Hylenski (sound design), Olivia Sebesky (projection design), Michael Starobin (orchestrator), Steven Malone (music director), Larry Reed/ShadowLight (shadow sequence design), Telsey + Company, Abbie Brady-Dalton, CSA (casting), Mark Myars (associate choreographer), and Michael Domue (production stage manager).

Read's original story on this production.

Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at (619) 23-GLOBE [234-5623], or by visiting the box office at 1363 Old Globe Way in Balboa Park.

The show was developed as a staged workshop presentation at the 2014 New York Stage and Film & Vassar’s Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College.

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