Moonbox Production's opening show of their fifth season is "The Musical of Musicals" by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart. The show is five mini-musicals written in the style of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Kander and Ebb with a brief finale out of Marvin Hamlisch. The plot line is the same in all five segments. A young blonde haired maiden is about to be evicted by the mean, lecherous landlord, defended by a loving and valiant hero, counseled by a savvy older woman. The authors use some of the original lyrics in a new context by twisting and turning them into comic ones for their new parodies. Act 1 starts off with "Corn!" which spoofs "Oklahoma!", "Carousel", "South Pacific", "The King & I" and "The Sound of Music." The second segment is "A Little Complex" which spoofs "Company", "A Little Night Music", "Sweeney Todd", "Sunday in the Park" and "Into the Woods." The third one is "Dear Abby" which spoofs "Hello, Dolly", "Mame" and "La Cage Aux Folles." The first segment of Act 2 is "Aspects of Juanita" which spoofs "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", "Jesus Christ Superstar","Cats", "Evita", "Starlight Express", "Aspects of Love" and "Sunset Boulevard." The last segment is "Speakeasy" which spoofs "Cabaret", "Liza with a Z", "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" and "Chicago." The show ends with "Done", a take-off on "One" from "A Chorus Line." This high energy musical is directed and choreographed perfectly by Rachel Bertone. She adds a six member chorus with the four leads to enhance the show. Musical director Dan Rodriguez not only plays the piano but taught the cast the tongue twisting lyrics. The six chorus members narrate it comically from scene to scene. The astounding leads are onstage almost the whole show and their multitalented performances earn them a very well deserved standing ovation at curtain call, making this one of the must see shows of this winter season.
Rachel's clever choreography captures the spirit of the different composers splendidly as if you were watching the original choreography of each of the shows. Her blocking is topnotch, keeping this musical treat flowing smoothly from one scene to the next. She gives the cast a lot of clever shtick to perform. The narration of each segment is hilarious, too. The young blonde heroine in each of the segments is excellently played by Katie Clark as June. Katie has a glorious voice which she displays in "I Don't Love You", the R&H song as well as "Wonderful Guy" spoof, "Birds" a Sweeney Todd spoof, an "Evita" song where she gets killed by a falling chandelier ala "Phantom", "I've Heard that Song Before" and "We Never Talk" a take off on "I Don't Know How to Love Him." Katie not only knocks off your socks with her voice but delivers her one liners perfectly. Peter Mill as Big Willy, is the handsome swain who rescues the damsel in distress. He has a powerful tenor voice which he displays in "I Don't Love You", "Corn", "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" send up, the "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" spoof "Color Me Gay", "We Never Talk" and especially in "Soliloquy". This number is a mixture of "A Puzzlement" and Billy's "Soliloquy" from "Carousel." Peter garners many laughs but is hilarious as Villy in the final segment and little Patrick from "Mame" in his short pants.
The earth mother role of Mother Abby, Auntie Abby, Abigail Von Schtarr and Fraulein Abby is wonderfully played by Meredith Stypinski.This pretty brunette as all the Abbys, has an amazing vocal range soaring up to the top of the charts in "Dream" putting a quaver in her voice to imitate the Reverend Mother and in a strong alto range sings a spoof of "If He Walked into My Life" called "Did I Put Out Enough", "Over the Top" (Sunset Boulevard), "Die" (Company) and "What Would You Do?", the Lotte Lenya number from "Cabaret" where she tells the girl to sell herself on the street to earn money to pay the landlord. Also impressive is the "Dear Abby" finale which is reminiscent of "Hello, Dolly."The evil landlord is hilariously played by Phil Tayler as Jitter. He scares the crap out of the audience as these five different characters. He displays her marvelous baritone voice as Sweeney Todd, the Phantom, the Emcee and one of the Cats. As the Emcee, Peter leads the chorus in "Don't Pay", a spoof of "Cell Block Tango" and in a spoof of "Wilkommen", he uses many different languages, leading to many laughs. The six chorus members, Julianne Daly, Nicholas Davis, Matthew Kossack, Caroline Lellouche, Allison Russell and Andrew Winans are spectacular in this satirical musical. Their dancing is breathtaking including high kicks during the Jerry Herman section. So be sure to catch a fabulous look at a contemporary musical which contains many older musical recognizable numbers, make sure you catch "The Musical of Musicals" before time runs out. Tell them Tony sent you.