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Breaking Out: Star-making performances abound in this spring's wealth of musicals

By Michael Portantiere
April 9, 2001

It wasn't unexpected that Faith Prince would be wonderfully warm and endearing as the star of Bells Are Ringing, but many theatergoers will be pleasantly surprised by the performance of Prince's leading man, Marc Kudisch. No Broadway tyro, Kudisch has previously been seen in the vicinity of Times Square as Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, as George Kittredge in the short-lived High Society, as Chauvelin in the final edition of The Scarlet Pimpernel, and as Jackie in the Michael John LaChiusa-George C. Wolfe version of The Wild Party. But only now, as the redeemed playboy Jeffrey Moss in Bells, is he getting the chance to really show us everything he's got in terms of acting ability, vocal chops, dancing skill, and killer charisma. Aside from Kudisch, Bells has at least one more trump card in the brilliantly over-the-top performance of Martin Moran as Dr. Kitchell, the dentist who wants desperately to be a songwriter. In his fairly brief time on stage, this actor--so terrific in the less flashy role of radioman Harold Bride in the Broadway musical Titanic--prompts such wild audience laughter that the Plymouth Theatre threatens to levitate.