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A CurtainUp Review
NEWSical The Musical
There are twenty-five numbers in the show, and Crom, a veteran of topical revue (RSVP, Oh Fine, The Subject Was Neurosis, Absolutely Rude, Our Life and Times and What in the World), knows just how long to stay on the same subject without milking the cow dry. Director Mark Waldrop and his excellent cast of four (Christine Pedi, Christina Bianco, Rory O'Malley and Tommy Walker, who replaced Michael West the night this reviewer attended) keep the show moving at a breakneck pace. It often seems that the laughter has not yet died down from the last song before a new one has taken its place.
Doubtless everyone who sees the show will have personal favorites. I was particularly taken with Joan Rivers and Nancy Pelosi discussing the merits of Botox, a very Jewish Ruth Bader Ginsberg advising a very Latina Sonia Sotomayor on what it's like to be a Supreme (think Diana Ross et. al.), a newsflash about the mysterious case of Snow White and those suspicious and disrespectful bearded men who insist on addressing her with the words "hi ho", and President Obama trying to order pizza but stymied by all the options.
One of the longest sketches is Celebrity Unemployment, which finds celebrities in new lines of work: Celine Dion singing the Hokey Pokey at a Wedding, John McCain selling prescription drugs in Walmart and Liza Minnelli teaching a self-defense course (she has lots of experience as a result of her last marriage). With the aid of backstage projections, the show even includes commercials. One promoted Gitmo as a great tourist spot once it's been vacated; another advertised a Lou Dobbs game show Go for the Green Card.
Like most satire, NEWSical depends a good deal on the art of mimicry. Although not all the celebrities are equally recognizable, some, such as Liza Minnelli, the Clintons and George W. Bush, are dead-on perfect. J. Jared Janas and Bob Greene's wig and hair design play a huge part in creating character.
What makes NEWSical truly entertaining is the quality of the musical numbers. Musical director Ed Goldschneider's experience with book musicals definitely shows in the way he turns sketches into polished pieces.
Whether your gripe is with the present administration or its opponents; snooty, misbehaving celebrities; the politically correct or the politically incorrect, there most probably will be something in NEWSical that will send you into peals of laughter — unless of course you take yourself as seriously as the people you should be laughing at.