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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Entries in New York Musical Theatre Festival (4)

Thursday
Jul252013

Adam's Call: HOMO The Musical: A Gay 'Ol Time

I had a gay 'ol time at the NYMF production of HOMO The Musical! This fun, original musical made me happy to be gay and proud of all the steps forward the gay community has made to achieve equality. A fun book, written by Lola Rock-n-Rolla, about an alien from Planet Homo who inflantrates a religious Middle American family by posing as a suburban housewife. Lola's book was witty, poignant at times, and definitely made a statement about where a lot of society is at today in regards to the acceptance of gays.

Gina Volpe's music and lyrics were enjoyable. She wrote some great rock-n-roll songs that helped push they story along. David Drake's direction put everything together! David has a great eye for shows with a message no matter how campy they are. I've seen David's work time and time again and I'm always impressed with what he does.

One of the things that made me really enjoy this show was that it felt as though it was a mash-up between Debbie Does Dallas meets The Rocky Horror Show, both of which I enjoyed when I saw them years back. Many of the characters seemed to have elements of characters from those shows, which allowed me to immediately identify more easily with them. Whether it was intentional or not, I think it's a great that HOMO The Musical! paid a little homage to these two shows.

Bringing this show alive more was a great cast of talented performers. I was impressed by all of them. Meg Baessler's comedic talent was delightful every time she was on stage. Thomas Poarch was perfectly cast as the G-d loving preacher dad "Harry." From his mannerisms to his voice, he played to the heavens. Sam Given gave a bravo performace as the "Gaylien." His humorous acting ability added a lot to his character. I don't think there was a better way to play it. He certainly won me over with his voice as well. Blair Goldberg had one of the best scenes of the night which was a great salute to the many horror films of our time. Alexander Coe did a fine job as the son "Billy." He's cute, had a delightful singing voice, and was wisely cast. Danielle Erin Rhodes was hands down my favorite of the night, primarily because of her incredible vocal quality. She literally rocked every song! I can't wait to see more for her. Christopher Trepinski, who I had previously seen in Naked Boys Singing, was terrific as "Teddy." His dynamic acting ability made him stand-out a various times throughout the show.

I think this show has real potential of going somewhere. It's fun, campy, and made me leave with a smile. I think it still has some work to do on it. While the show is only 90-minutes with no intermission, I feel it would work that much better at about 75-80 minutes. There were a few moments when I thought the show was over and it continued on, but since this is still a work in progress, that might be worked out by it's next incarnation.

With two performances left, I would suggest checking out HOMO The Musical at NYMF. It's good times that will make you smile and laugh. HOMO THE MUSICAL plays at PTC Performance Space (555 West 42nd Street, between 10th & 11th Avenue). Click here for tickets!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Sunday
Jul142013

Adam's Call: Julian PO at NYMF: On It's Way

Cast of "Julian PO", Photo Credit: Steven Rosen Photography LRThe summer theatre festivals are upon us and I had the chance to take in Julian PO as part of the 2013 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). I was initially attracted to this show because it starred some of my favorite performers Chad Kimball, Luba Mason, and Jason Gotay.

Adam Rothenberg and Chad Kimball after "Julian PO" at NYMF, Photo Credit: Raellen ForemanLuba Mason and Adam Rothenberg after "Julian PO" at NYMFWhen "Julian PO" comes to middle America to end his life, things don't go exactly as planned. In a show about life, dreams, and self-worth, Julian PO has the potential to be an even better than show it was. I was enthralled by the performances given by Chad Kimball as "Julian Po," Luba Mason as "Lilah Leech," Jason Gotay as "Tom Potter," and Sean Cullen as "Henry Leech." Chad's turn as "Julian Po" was great. He really made me feel for his character's hardships and as always, it was a joy to hear him sing. Luba's portrayal of "Lilah Leech," the wife of the town's mayor, "Henry Leech" was superb. She really captured the heartache her character felt and definitely had me cheering by the end. Her vocal quality was prestine. I was so happy she had several featured solos. She deserved them! I have only seen Jason Gotay sing at some of Bobby Cronin's concerts, so to get to see him in a full production was wonderful. His acting and of course singing were delightful to watch. He was on top of his game and it was great to see him steal the spotlight. Sean Cullen also impressed me as the town's mayor, "Henry Leech." I found myself hating his character, but loving the way he brought his character to life. 

Chad Kimball as "Julian PO", Photo Credit: Steven Rosen Photography LRChad Kimball as "Julian PO", Photo Credit: Steven Rosen Photography LRI think this show has a lot of potential. While I liked the general idea of the book by Andrew Barrett, I would like to see it pulled together a bit more. I think some stories could be cut out to allow other stories to play a bigger role and allow us to really get inside this town even more. I also wanted stronger songs. My favorite thing about going to see a musical is being able to sing the songs long after the show is over. I would like to see that happen with Julian PO. I remember liking certain songs, but I can't recall their names or any of the lyrics. I felt there was real potential for that to happen.

I think Julian Po scores well for a show that is just starting out. I look forward to seeing what is next for Julian Po. For more on Julian Po be sure to visit http://www.julianpo.com.

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Wednesday
Jul182012

Baby Case at NYMF: Hour of Gold

Cast of "Baby Case", Photo Credit: Bill BustamanteIf you are looking for a NYMF show to see, go see "Baby Case" with a book, lyrics, and music by Michael Ogborn, direction by Jeremy Dobrish, and choreography by Warren Adams. "Baby Case" is a retelling of the Charles Lindbergh, Jr. kidnapping and subsequent murder trial, the first true media circus of the 20th Century.

Melissa van der Schyff, Hannah Elless, and Patricia Noonan, Photo Credit: Bill BustamanteWill Reynolds and Anika Larsen, Photo Credit: Bill BustamanteSo many things about this show are great! The book, the music, the cast, are all delightful! Going into this show, I didn't know much about the Charles Lindbergh, Jr. case, but now I want to know so much more. Michael has written a show that is gripping and emotional, with just enough humor interspersed. The whole cast was a delight to watch! They are all very talented with great singing voices. Will Reynolds was spectacular as "Charles Lindbergh/Bruno Hauptmann". He did a great job differentiating between his two characters. His vocals are some of the strongest male vocals I have heard in a while, especially when he sang "No, I Never Did," "Over the Sea," and "Scapegoat." Anika Larsen was exquisite as "Anne Morrow Lindbergh/Anna Hauptmann." From her acting to her pitch-perfect singing, Anika always shines bright! She really lit up the stage during "Lullaby," "Unmerciful Hearts," and "One Little Boy," but it was her trial scene as "Anne Morrow Lindbergh" where Anika really excelled! Melissa van der Schyff was radiant as "Violet Anika Larsen and Cast of "Baby Case" on Trial, Photo Credit: Bill BustamanteSharpe," especially when she triumphed on "Dirty Dishes." It was quite a powerful scene. I also throughly enjoyed Jason Collins in his multiple roles of "Detective Schiable/Father Coughlin/Walter Lyle/David Wilentz." He too distinguished himself very well. It was wonderful that he got some solo moments to sing. Throughout the show, Patricia Noonan ("Betty Gow/Ginger Rogers") and Hannah Elless ("Emily Sharpe/Adela St. Johns") hit all the right notes! I loved their vocals and am glad they each got showcased. Patricia started things off to a great start with "Nurse's Song." She knows how to work it! Hannah was terrific on "Hour of Gold." She really held her own. Michael Thomas Holmes showcased himself perfectly as "Walter Winchell." He worked that stage and made me take notice of him and his talent. Eugene Barry-Hill, Matthew Myers, and Kurt Zischke all did a really good job, with each having a few moments of their own to stand-out.

Jason Collins, Will Reynolds, Tom Riis Farrell, Photo Credit: Bill BustamanteMichael Thomas Holmes, Photo Credit: Bill BustamanteI felt very involved in the story, excited to find out what would happen next! I definitely could see this show having more of a life after NYMF. As much as I loved this show, there were a few numbers that didn't move me "Baby Case" and "Trial Drinking Song." I think if this show moves, it would be interesting to see if it could work without those two songs. I think "Trial Drinking Song" could be done with just the speaking part that started the song.

Cast of "Baby Case", Photo Credit: Bill Bustamante"Baby Case" is a good musical, with a strong book, music, and cast! I felt as though I sat through an original musical with much potential for a future run! "Baby Case" plays at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street) through this Sunday, July 22. Click here for tickets!

Sunday
Jul152012

Flambe Dreams: Fun, Humorous, and Enjoyable

"Flambe Dreams" is a new musical comedy that was enjoyable to sit through. Written by Matthew Hardy and music by Randy Klein, "Flambe Dreams" is the story of "Joseph Christiansen," played by "Jersey Boys'" Jarrod Spector, who aspires to be a great Maitre d' like his father, played by Kevin B. McGlynn, who was tragically killed in a freak flamming Banana Foster accident. Wanting to pursue his dream, against the wishes of his mother, played by Tony Award nominee Catherine Cox, "Joseph" moves to New York in hopes of being a Maitre d' at Le Cirque, one of NYC's famous restaurants. Along the way, he meets "Gloria," a pharmacist at Duane Reade, played by Jillian Louis and "Desiree/Delicious Dish," played by the hilarious J. Elaine Marcos, most recently as the ping-pong poppin' "Cynthia" in Broadway's "Priscilla Queen of the Desert."

As "Joseph" pursued his dreams many lessons were learned along the way about life, love, lies, and parenting. I was very entertained during the show while being taught a few good lessons. In a very funny way, "Flambe Dreams" showed me what a parent will go through to protect her child from hurt, even when it may not be the best thing for him. It also showed what one person will endure to reach his dreams, even when it seems like they won't come true. It also highlighted what a few people would do to find love and how far they would go to get it.

The whole cast should be applauded for their comedic talents, though J. Elaine Marcos did steal the spotlight several times when on stage. She really utilizes her improv/stand-up comedy skills to bring her moments just that much further. Jarrod Spector and Jillian Louis were both very funny in the way they capitalized on their characters' neurosis. Catherine Cox was delightful playing "Joseph's" mother especially when she felt he was doing something he shouldn't be. Catherine found a way to embody the crazy of the mother. Kevin B. McGlynn shined in each of the characters he played: "Joe's" father, "River," the owner of "River's Holistic Tearoom," "Yashinoya," the owner of "Speedy Happy Noodle Shop and Internet Cafe, and "Emile," the head Maitre d' at Le Cirque. Kevin found a great way to make each character stand out in a hilarious way.

Overall the music was enjoyable. I particularly liked "Mr. Christiansen," "Helping Children," "Chatroom," "Table For One," "Lesions On Your Heart," "My Dream," "Letting Go," and "Everything You Long For." These songs really stuck out for me because they were either written with much wit or they really gave some insight to the character.

I hope this show has more of a life after NYMF. If it does, I might suggest trying to trim it down to just under 2 hours or re-work the ending because I did think the show was over after everyone sang "Everything You Long For," but then there was about another 10-15 minutes. Although, "Everything You Long For" would have been a fitting ending, but it was nice to see the actual ending, so maybe there is a way to smooth that out.

"Flambe Dreams" is fun, humorous, and enjoyable. The run is already sold-out but there is talk of a possible addition. Stay tuned to "Call Me Adam" to find out! "Flambe Dreams" has added one more performance: Friday, July 20 at 11pm! Click here for tickets!