On Saturday, October 15, I attended "Matchmaker Matchmaker I'm Willing To Settle: a musical guide to INTERNET DATING" as part of the 2011 New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) Developmental Series. What initially attracted me to this show was the fact that fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Joel Waggoner was the musical director/keyboardist, but what I found was a really fun and relatable show with a book by Kelvin Moon Loh and Nikki MacCallum with music and lyrics by Brandon James Gwinn. What made this show so great is that on more than one ocassion I found myself saying to myself, "That happened to me or I remember when..."
In this day and age of internet dating, it would be hard not to relate to a show like this. In addition to the story, I also really liked all the musical theatre references "Nikki," played by Nikki MacCallum made, especially the one about "Thoroughly Modern Millie," one of my all time favorite musicals. Nikki was very convincing as a girl going through the motions of trying to find love via the internet. Pulling up scenarios from some of the more popular sites and the multi-media use of IMs, seeing actual profiles, as well as the scrolling motion of hundreds of random users from these sites, made the show that much more real.
One of my favorite aspects of the book was the real journey "Nikki" goes on navigating the world of on-line dating. I remember when I first started internet dating, like "Nikki," I was estatic at all the possibilities out there, the "Hundreds of Thousands" of people (as well written in the opening song) I could potentially meet. Would my "Perfect Guy" be out there? So far, not yet, but then similar to "Nikki," I quickly learned the reality of talking to someone online can be vastly different from what shows up in person, but like "Nikki," I still had (and have) hope. I really liked the idea of the scenes between "Nikki" and her "Bestie," however I found myself disappointed that "Nikki's Bestie" was written as an overly flamboyant gay. I am sure he was written as that for the comedic effect, but I personally feel, in 2011, it's a step backward to have the gay sidekick portrayed as an overly flamboyant gay. Couldn't the "Bestie" just be portrayed as your average guy who happens to be gay with a great comedic timing? I know there are overly flamboyant gays out there, but these days, it would be nice to see a wider representation of gays. Getting back to the plot, "Nikki's" evolution ended on a high note as she really took control over the guys she spoke to and went out with. "Nikki" learned many lessons during her ride through internet dating and it was great to see that!
I really enjoyed Judah Frank's performance as one of many "JDate Guy's" "Nikki" went out with as well as his portrayal of "Nikki's Bestie," given the material he had to work with. Judah has a great voice, good dance moves, and strong comedic skills and stage presence!
Since this show was part of NYMF's developmental series, so much can change. I do hope this show has a further life and it will be interesting to see how the show changes and grows. So far, I think they are on the right track to something very special!