Wednesday, August 13, 2008

[insert praise here] - [title of show] - [musical review]

[title of show] - Lyceum Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY
Music and Lyrics by Jeff Bowen, Book by Hunter Bell, Directed by Michael Berresse

So I finally saw [title of show] folks and goshdarnit, I loved it like I loved the Off-Broadway cast recording that I had been listening to up until this point. If you don't know what [tos] is or what being a [tosser] is? Then go here, then here and then here to watch the [title of show] show, a youtube series that sort of explains the show, while becoming part of the show's history in itself as it tried to get this little musical that started at the New York Musical Theater Festival to Broadway.



And it DID!

And now I've SEEN IT!

And now you should see it too! With the original cast, because, well, the show was written by and for them.

[title of show] started with 2 guys (Jeff Bowen, the Chelsea-gay-boy in purple and pink, and Hunter Bell, the cherubic face with a tongue of mace (!. ?. !.) in green) who wanted to write a musical about 2 guys writing a musical about 2 guys writing a musical. Get it? It's the ultimate post-modern meta-musical that references itself, it's own journey, and every other musical theatre joke out there and spins it into a wonderfully intimate, sarcastic, biting, and strangely emotionally harrowing journey about art, the creation of art, selling out, fame, and everything else. And yes, it's a MUSICAL.

So Jeff Bowen and Hunter Foster who wrote the musical, play themselves in their musical about them writing a musical but they also wrote in their friends, the angel voiced Heidi Blickenstaff and the acerbic Susan Blackwell (who also has a lovely voice despite her own misgivings), each who play themselves as well and well... they are accompanied by Larry Pressgrove (LARRY!) on keyboards (and who sits in the corner of the basic 3 wall New York apartment set) and well... that's it.

4 actors. 4 Chairs. 1 Pianist.


And yes, it's TERRIFIC! And it works and though yes, I'm a musical theatre fan, I personally didn't think you need to be one to enjoy this show (even though it uses obscure musical theatre references as punchline for jokes that sometimes even mystified me).

At first, the boys will be enough to charm you. Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell (Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Who Stole Christmas) are your two best gay theatre queen best friends and just regular nobodies in New York looking to be loved (but not by each other, Jeff is already sleeping with the director Michael Berresse though considering he's playing himself, I'm not sure he needed to work the casting couch).

Then the girls Susan Blackwell (above right, Speech and Debate) and Heidi Blickenstaff (above left, The Little Mermaid) will steal your heart, make love to your intelligent senses, then have a good smoke.

It's a silly little show with big big heart and as the NYTimes called it best, they are the class clowns of Broadway. The song "An Original Musical" is probably one of my favorites for being the funniest songs out there while "Two Nobodies In New York" and "Part Of It All" will endear you to the same excitement and joy of these struggling actors.

"I Am Playing Me" and "Secondary Characters" endear us to the 2 women in the cast, but the new songs added for the Broadway transfer, that start dealing with some less-than-fun issues start taking the show into a more serious side when fame betrays friends, but alas, in the end, the finish their show with a big finale (awesome) and one of my favorite songs "Nine People's Favorite Thing" which basically outlines that [title of show] would rather be 9 people's favorite thing than 100 people's 9th favorite thing. Well, I'm not sure it's my favorite thing (on Broadway) but it's probably my 4th favorite thing so where does that put me?

[title of show] - Lyceum Theatre - Broadway, New York, NY - **** (4 stars out of 5)

Here's the preview video from BroadwayWorld.com:


elpharose39 said...

Reading your review has moved me to see it a second time!

just purchased tickets for two weeks from tomorrow using a code i found on this site: http://www.broadwaybox.com/shows/title_of_show_nyc_tickets.aspx

Vance said...

Oh yah, isn't Broadwaybox.com great?

I know. I wanted to see [tos] again actually so I hope it's still there when I come back (hopefully this fall or early winter)!

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