There is something very familiar about Nice Work If You Can Get It opening next week at the Ordway in Saint Paul, but unless you were lucky enough to catch it during its Broadway run in New York I can assure you its a show you’ve never seen before. Full of classic Gershwin hits like “Someone to Watch Over Me”, “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” and “Fascinating Rhythm” Nice Work If You Can Get It is a brand new musical in the vein of classic Broadway musical comedies. Set in New York City during the Roaring Twenties and full of outrageous characters this Tony® winning show features a book by Tony® winner Joe DiPietro (Memphis) and is sure to bring the laughs during this new old fashion classic.
Alex Enterline leads the first national tour as playboy Jimmy Winter. I had the opportunity to interview him earlier this week about his role, the show and life on the road.
Nice Work If You Can Get It is a new musical with a book written by Joe DiPietro, but with a score written by George and Ira Gershwin. As a performer, do you feel any added pressure making sure the show lives up to the legacy of the Gershwins?
There is definitely pressure there because these songs are classics. You want the music to offer something special to the audience, whether they are an older generation or a new generation.
What is it like being part of the launch of the first national tour for a show, knowing that most of those seeing the show will be introduced to it for the first time?
It’s actually quite humbling to be a part of this cast in this fantastic show. Like you said, people across the country may have not been able to see the production on Broadway, so it is an honor to come to their hometowns and offer a little piece of Broadway where it is accessible. The show is hysterical and filled with heart, so the audiences are in for a treat coming to see a show they are not familiar with.
How would you describe your character Jimmy Winter?
“A wealthy playboy” is a phrase used in the script quite a few times. But, what that doesn’t encompass is the heart that Jimmy has. He has not a care in the world, but he does care for others. And he truly experiences a different kind of love from anything he’s ever felt before when he meets Billie Bendix and is changed for the better.
What do you hope the audience takes away from this show?
I hope the audience takes away a rekindled or new found love for Gershwin tunes. There are so many that the audience will walk out of the theatre humming. I sing them on stage every day and I still find myself whistling or humming these tunes everywhere I go. Plus, you leave with memories of gut-busting laughter and warm hearts.
How did you first become interested in theatre?
I started performing in elementary school doing community theatre. My mom also worked for a company that would book tours in the Midwest, so I was able to see a lot of national tours that came through Tulsa.
Every performer has that moment where it just “clicks” and they know performing is what they want to do for a living. What was that moment for you?
I think performing was always in my blood, but I definitely decided in high school that I wanted to go to college for theatre and pursue it as a career. My first musical was The King and I. I was quite young; the seed was planted, and I couldn’t shake it off.
This show marks your tour debut. So far, has life on the road been what you were expecting?
Luckily, we have been traveling by plane for a while, but it really has been what I expected. I now realize, though, that I did not have to pack as much as I did. When you’re with the same people for months and they become your family on the road, you begin to lose the drive to dress to impress … so, sweats, hoodies, and sneakers become the staples for the cast.
Nice Work If You Can Get It runs at the Ordway October 14-19. For more information on the show visit the Ordway’s website. .