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A CurtainUp Review
And I see you've brought your neuroses.—┬áSamantha
Neil Simon may no longer be with us, but his spirit lives on in a new musical that has a book by Allan Rice, music by Ben Green and lyrics by Greg Edwards. Much like Simon's works, Neurosis: A Neurosis: A Musical That Gets in Your Head focusses on the sad but amusing woes of a two likable but less than perfect human beings, Abby (Jennifer Blood) and Frank (Kevin Zak). This is an urban couple very much like the ones we have met in comedies such as Simon's Barefoot in the Park, Jake's Women, Plaza Suite or its West Coast twin, California Suite. So far so good, but in the end. . . Rice is not exactly Neil Simons.

Frank is an aspiring magician who has trouble advancing his career or even keeping his job in a magic shop. He has problems with self-esteem (he hasn't got much), with sex (he hasn't had any in four years) and, of course, with his mother (he has one, and that's more than enough). Abby is a successful career women who tends to pick loser boyfriends. She has finally decided what she really need is a Jewish boy who'll "treat me like a temple/And when I'm feeling blue/He'll know how to console me/Cause Jews have suffered too."

Inevitably, Frank and Abby meet at a hotel where Abby has had a meeting with a client and Frank is attending the Legends of Magic gala. Unfortunately, they've both brought along their constant companions: Frank's Neurosis (Brennan Caldwell) and Abby's Neurosalina (Morgan Weed), who like renegade imaginary friends, keep reminding them of everything that will go wrong. In fact, it isn't until much later, when Abby finds out Frank is Jewish, that sparks begin to fly.

But Jewish men come with Jewish mothers, and Frank's, a shrew named Geri (Susan J. Jacks), is a doozie. In "Meet-The-Parents-Tango," one of the show's most successful numbers, despite the efforts of Frank's father, Kenny (Joel Blum), Geri manages to turn the sparks into dying embers.

In the meantime, Frank is seeing a psychiatrist named Samantha (Lacretta), who helps neither Frank nor the plot. She might be totally superfluous if not for the fact that Lacretta has a dynamite voice.

Director Andy Sandberg keeps the play moving smoothly through its many scene shifts. The actors have loads of energy and powerful voices. The music is upbeat (although the songs are so indistinguishable from one another it's easy to confuse reprises with new songs). And the lyrics are often quite clever. All of this makes Neurosis very enjoyable but does not compensate for the lack of character and plot development. Simon's men and women were three-dimensional people with problems we could all recognize. The characters in Neurosis have more of a cardboard quality and their problems are too easily solved.

Musical Numbers
Act One
    Prologue (Who's The Guy)
    You Got Neurosis
    Incredible Frank
    Make Him Mine
    Incredible Frank (reprise)
    No Easy Answers
    Use Your Words
    A Mother's Advice
    You Got What It Takes
    Who's the Guy (reprise)
    Let Go
Act Two
    Well, Goodnight
    You Got What It Takes (reprise)
    When You're Alone
    You Are My Neurosis
    Boyfriend-Girlfriend (reprise)

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Neurosis: : A Musical That Gets in Your Head
: A Musical That Gets in Your Head Directed by Andy Sandberg
Cast: Jennifer Blood (Abby), Joel Blum (Kenny), Brennan Caldwell (Neurosis), Susan J. Jacks (Geri), Lacretta (Samantha), Ian Michael Stewart (Kurt/Larry/Others)Morgan Weed (Neurosalina), Kevin Zak (Frank)
Scenic Design: Charlie Corcoran
Costume Design: Michael McDonald
Lighting Design: Jake DeGroot
Sound Design: David Sanderson
Arrangements and Orchestrations: Ben Green
Production Stage Manager: Gregory Fletcher
Running time: 2 hours with one intermission
DR2 101 East 15th Street
From 8/24/18;opening 8/27/18; closing 10/20/18
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons Aug. 29, 2018

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