Monday, October 02, 2006
*** (out of ****)
The "Let's put on a show" premise for entertainment is certainly nothing new -- it's likely as old as show business itself, albeit in varying derivations. But there's nothing derivative about the wonderful little musical [title of show], which I saw this past Saturday evening at New York's Vineyard Theatre. Not since The Musical Of Musicals-The Musical have I so thoroughly enjoyed such a delightful, decidedly small tuner with an enormous heart.
[title of show] is ostensibly about two friends who embark on writing a musical to enter into the New York Musical Theatre Fest in just under a month and then succeed in bringing it to life exactly as they wrote it against all odds. The engaging and endearing Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen essentially play themselves (and true to its premise, they wrote the actual book, music and lyrics, too). Along the way, they invite two female friends -- the effervescent Heidi Blickenstaff and the "handsome" Susan Blackwell -- to help shape the show.
Clever dialogue and a terrific score -- along with Michael Berresse's lovingly precise direction -- keep the 90+ minute show moving at a quick pace that's never dull and largely entertaining, particularly when they're dishing on some of Broadway's most renowned guilty pleasures or being interrupted via voicemail by some of the Great White Way's most acclaimed female stars. Best of all, they remain true to themselves and their vision.
Sadly, the show closed on Sunday. But something tells me this is not last we'll see of this earnest show, particularly since I'll bet that this musical likely rates as the favorite of at least nine people.... If it reopens, one can only hope that each of these talented actors will reprise their roles. [title of show] deserves a much wider audience. In the meantime, there's always the cast recording now available through Ghostlight Records.
This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).
Click here for the cast recording.
Making a Name for Itself: [title of show] Extends (August 16, 2006)