Theatre Mirror Reviews - " [title of show] "

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2010 by Larry Stark


" [title of show] "

Music & Lyrics by Jeff Bowen
Book by Hunter Bell

Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music Director Will McGarrahan
Choreography by David Connolly

Scenic Design by Eric Levenson
Lighting Design by Jeff Adelberg
Assistant Lighting Designer Rachel Wojciechowski
Costume Design by Charles Schoonmaker
Projection Design by Seaghan MvKay
Props Master Natalie Kearns
Sound Design by Aaron Mack
Assistant to The Sound Designer Nicholas Bechard
Dance Captain Amy Barker
Technical Director James Crosby
Assistant to The Director Scott Sinclair
Production Manager Paul Melone
Production Stage Manager Victoria S. Coady

Jeff.........Jordan Ahnquist
Heidi.............Amy Barker
Hunter.............Joe Lanza
Larry........Will McGarrahan
Susan...........Val Sullivan

I wish I could write a review about writing a review about a musical about two guys writing a musical. [Can I say "incestuous" without sounding negative here?] This isn't exactly a BACK-stage play (but, as you know I Love them!) --- it's sort of a BEFORE-stage play. Eric Levenson's set is just a solid brick wall, painted pure-white, on which Seaghan McKay projects windows into the bricked-up-windows, or hundreds of programs for real musicals flitting by as they're alluded to in a "let's write a musical like [BLANK]" song. The music is thumped out by Will McGarrahan on an electric Yamaha, and the four kids performing have nothing but four peripatetic chairs to play with. It's a musical without anything but music that you'd expect a musical to contain, it's a theatrical abstraction, it's totally self-referential, it's sort of like the "Opening Doors" number in "Merrily" but not quite, it's inane, and it's f'ing MAGNIFICENT!

Joe Lanza and Jordan Ahnquist play Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen, the composer&librettist who made this making-a-musical musical, and take the bare-bones idea from the "Why not, we've got three weeks to do it in!" stage straight through to the "Change It, Don't Change It" dilemma of what should be different if the show moves from off-OFF-Broadway to OFF-? It's full of the young-creators' enthusiasms that make "The Tony Award Song" the FIFTH of Eighteen numbers. (In the third song, Joe Lanza plays a sheet of blank paper --- because that and a number 2 Dixon Ticonderoga pencil are all you need to write a ghodamned musical, right? Right? ? ? Right!!! [Now WRITE!])

Amy Barker and Val Sullivan are Secondary Characters (They finally get to sing a song called "Secondary Characters") and Barker (she's the tall one) starts a lovely song called "I Am Playing Me" while Val's "Die Vampire, Die!" is about banishing fears of failure. And Will McGarrahan (He's really the show's Musical Director) gets THREE Lines...or maybe just two...and doesn't even get to eat lunch, sitting back there stage-left, making music.

The show begins when these two kids (you've gotta be young to even Try anything like this) read about a competition offering a staged-reading for an original musical and goad each other into filling the empty form with songs and patter about songs and patter. And for a while it's like an Improv-sketch --- until the damn thing digs in and gets serious, and by the fifteenth number "Awkward Photo Shoot" it's got a plot and characters and conflict and

And Ghod Damn It it's good! Go see for yourself and write your own review.
This is mine.

Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark )

" [title of show] " (15 January - 13 February)
SPEAKEASY STAGE COMPANY
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1(617)482-3279

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