note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Beverly Creasey
SpeakEasy Stage is giving Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell’s inventive little musical a good whirl. TITLE OF SHOW, yes, that’s what it’s called, runs through Feb. 13th at the BCA. The two authors decided to enter a contest with three weeks to deadline---and to “break new ground” with a musical. Imagine an episode of SEINFELD with singing twenty-somethings instead of talking Jerry and Elaines and you have the whole idea. The musical we’re seeing is the story of how they wrote TITLE OF SHOW. (That was line 1.on the application so they left it as their name!)
This cheeky twist on the old “Hey-Kids-Let’s-put-on-a-show!” literally devours pop culture, bombarding us with “inside jokes,” regaling us with delightful lyrics like the ditty about “all of [their] gay skills… filling Playbills.” The two protagonists (adroitly played by Jordan Ahnquist and Joe Lanza) have two vivacious female friends (Amy Barker and Val Sullivan) who supply the spunk---and one keyboardist (music director Will McGarrahan) who gets lots of laughs for what he doesn’t say.
Without crossing the line from ‘cute’ into ‘cloying,’ the show is smartly directed by Paul Daigneault. The songs are mostly charming and one, [I’d rather be] Nine People’s Favorite Thing, has real staying power. (I heard it in a cabaret show long before I knew where it came from.) Eric Levenson’s crisp, white brick rehearsal hall of a set (complete with hilarious answering machine) says it all about TITLE OF SHOW. This is one hip, naughty backstage musical. If you fancy the tony New York art scene, TITLE OF SHOW is for you.