ADVERTISING AT CURTAINUP
Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
A CurtainUp Review
ReWrite: A Musical Comedy Triple Feature
By Julia Furay
The structure of the show is simple: three original stories, each about 30 minutes long. In the first, awkward high school student Nelson (Nick Blaemire) dreams of asking out his dream girl (Lauren Marcus). The second story features a hilariously unbalanced old maid (Lorinda Lisitza) who kidnaps a young man (A.J. Shively). In the autobiographical last story, a Dunkin Donuts employee (Badia Farha) helps a musical theatre writer (Jason Williams) to face his demons and get over his block.
Iconis's The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks played at TheatreWorks earlier this year, and his oddball charm was an excellent match for that children's story. This more grown-up production features the same creative team and many of the same cast members as well as a similar offbeat likeability. However, it's a far more personal work than The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks. For one thing, Iconis himself is placed center stage throughout and acts as piano accompanist. As the show becomes explicitly about him in the last third of the show, it's not until then that the title's meaning becomes clear and we discover the reasons he wrote each story and the personal relationship he has with certain characters.
The cast is always appealing. Some, like Lisitza as kidnapping Marzipan queen, emphasize Iconis's campier elements; others, like Williams as the donut-loving authorr, bring a far more grounded, realistic portrayal to their characters. Generally, I preferred the latter. However, Lisitza's story was the funniest and most creative of the three. The high school story felt a little warmed over (how many times have we seen stories about nerds trying to win the heart of the popular girl?). The writer story tied the piece together nicely, but didn't feature characters as interesting or funny as the first two did.
Director John Simpkins keeps the tone cheerful and at a fast pace throughout. Given that he, Iconis, set designer Michael Schweidkardt, choreographer Jennifer Werner and other members of the creative team have worked together several times before, it comes as no surprise that the production feels so well tuned. The one off-note is the strange multimedia extravaganza in between each act, which doesn't fit the homemade feel of the rest of the piece.
There's no songlist in the program because the (catchy) numbers stop and start and are reprised fluently with the script. Beneath Iconis's quirkiness lies a talented dramatist who knows how to create a nicely integrated musical. Even though not an especially memorable piece, ReWrite has a funny and individual voice.
Editor's Note: To read a review of The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks, also reviewed by julia Furay, go here.