A cowboy riff on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure doesn't seem like the most likely candidate for a good musical. However, New York audiences seem to disagree. Desperate Measures had a sold out run at the York Theatre and recently transferred to New World Stages for an open ended run. Upon attending on a Saturday afternoon this month, I found that the fans aren't wrong about it.
A witty and quick moving show, Desperate Measures takes on a classic Shakespeare work it the form of a slap-happy musical comedy. When Johnny Blood is sentenced to death he has to rely on a colorful cast of characters including the Sherrif, his sister who is about to become a nun, the singer and occasional hooker who has his heart, and a priest who doesn't believe in God to save him from his sentencing by the governor.
The show cleverly addresses themes like justice and hypocrisy through it's cast, all of whom have their time to shine. While the music is not the most memorable on the planet it's fun and fits with the attitude of the show.
If you're looking for something to entertain you for 2 hours or so, you will certainly find what you're looking for in Desperate Measures.