REVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams


Based on the Screenplay Some Like It Hot by Billy Wildersugar directed by jim corti

& I.A.I. Diamond

Book by Peter Stone

Music by Jule Styne

Lyrics by Bob Merrill

Directed & Choreographed by Jim Corti

At Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre

Hilarious comedy musical is an outrageous treat

The hit comedy film classic, Some Like It Hot, with Marilyn Monroe,  Jack Lemon and Tony Curtis is one funny movie. Styne and Merrill’s score that made up the 1972 Broadway musical, Sugar, contains most of the humor with a workable score was a major disappointment lasting 505 performances. With shows like Follies and Company (concert musicals) flourishing, Sugar labored as an old-fashioned, outdated musical despite terrific performances by Robert Morris and Tony Roberts. Sugar was soon forgotten.

sugar directed by jim corti

Jim Corti has remounted Sugar with a film in progress motif with terrific staging (set design by Brian Sidney Bembridge) and featuring a spirited cast of gifted comic actors and stellar voices. Jennifer Knox plays Sugar with a cuteness reminiscent but not imitative of Marilyn Monroe.

sugar directed by jim corti

Sugar is sexy comedy about two down-on-their luck musicians – Joe (Rod Thomas) and Jerry (Alan Schmuckler) struggling to survive in Prohibition-Era Chicago. When they witness a mob murder, the criminals chase them to Miami in order to eliminate them. Joe and Jerry are forced to go into drag as Josephine and Daphine to become members of an all-female orchestra to hide from the mob.


This plot twist leads to a slew of hilarious scenes and cute musical numbers. The series of chaotic mishaps deftly demonstrates the comic talents of Rod Thomas and Alan Schmuckler. Peter Stone’s book features most of the stinging lines and retorts from Wilder’s film (Some Like It Hot). Director Jim Corti’s manic pace and uniquely cinematic approach paid homage to the film source and enhanced the comic elements. Corti’s casting of Jennifer Knox as Sugar and Alan Schmuckler worked to take a by-the-numbers old-fashion Broadway musical to a fun-filled comedy musical that delights. We love Sugar and we cheer for Daphne and Josephine, we laugh at Merrill’s cute rhythms and enjoy Styne’s 20’s style music. But the hilarious performances by Thomas and Schmuckler anchor Sugar into an evening of comedy with some nice tunes. This musical farce will leave you smiling. It is a treat worth seeing.


Tom Williams

Jeff Recommended

At Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace, IL, call 630-530-0111,, tickets $31 – $38 – $40 – $45, Wednesdays at 1:30 pm, Thursdays at 1:30 pm & 8 pm, Fridays at 8:30 pm, Saturdays at 5 & 8:30 pm, Sundays at 2 & 6 pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission.

2 thoughts on “Sugar

  • Actually, Follies only ran 522 performances, just a few more than Sugar, and was considered an artistic success but a box office failure at the time. Follies also did not have a major national touring company, while Sugar did. I’ve always loved the score, which is classic Jule Styne Broadway, old-fashioned indeed but delectable.

  • When I referenced Follies and Company, I was speaking to the changes in style rather than the popularity of Sugar. At that time, producers were experimenting and old-time musicals seemed tired. Today, Sugar plays nicely.

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