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A CurtainUp Review
The Musical of Musicals (The Musical)
Four very energetic and talented actors accompanied by onstage pianist, Adam Jones, help shred this great American musical tradition: James Anthony Fernandes captures the very predictable villain/madman, Jitter, using minimal, yet effective, body language; Jerielle Morowitz. world-weary, Abby, provides that perfect cynicism and knowing innuendo which a mere wink can supply; Daniel Moser as Big Willy, Billy, William, Bill, Villy imbues each of the same character with likeability and genuine goofiness; Megan Rozak.s perennial ingénue with rent problems, has a voice that fluidly wraps itself around each composer's style. Jones, as a semi-narrator, throws several one-liners that earn well-deserved guffaws.
The cast easily captures the lovingly tongue-in-cheek intention of each show. For instance, their flashing eyes and gruesome faces during the Sweeney Todd sequence mirrors the tone of the Sondheim classic, but the audience can't help laughing with appreciation and understanding as the cast segues into “Sunday in the Park with George” with nods towards A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Follies, and A Little Night Music all within the edgily neurotic frame story of "A Little Complex in the Woods."
The mock grandeur used to spoof Webber's Sunset Boulevard and bogus grittiness for Evita is achieved by over-the-top interpretations of the respective heroines. Webber's style, which by now has become a parody of itself, is roasted brilliantly by creeping fog, garish lighting and soaring Puccini vibratos.
One would think the show would be appreciated only by musical theatre mavens, but the audience in this comfortable small-town theatre in Lebanon, New York heartily laughed at many of the bits simply because they are hilarious and done well by the four wonderful actors who play the variations of each stock character with verve and ingenuous spirit. Even audiences who clap at everything get a gentle ribbing in this Mockumusical which runs until August 3rd. Don't Miss it!
Editor's Note: This show had its premiere at the York Theater (review ) which speciaizes in musicals. It moved from the York to a larger Off-Broadway theater, and it's been on the move ever since.