Have you ever wanted to live with Madonna and Britney Spears? If so, then you should check out Dan Fishback's "The Material World" at Dixon Place in NYC as part of their HOT! Festival, a celebration of Queer Culture through July 28.
"The Material World" is a pop musical about a family of socialist Jews in the 1920s who live with Madonna and Britney Spears. The cast of this show was quite amazing. Another positive aspect of the show was the music. The songs were well written, even though I didn't leave humming any tunes, they did fit the story. At it's core, the book was really good, covering such topics as family, love, fulfilling and compromising your dreams, finding who you are, acceptance, and aging, but I personally, as well as my friend, had a very hard time following the story and the time frame of when things were taking place.
As for this amazing cast, I loved them! Playing the matriarch of the family, Molly Pope, is spectcular! This was my first time seeing her act and I was completely blown away. She was perfect as the mother! One of Molly's biggest moments came when she sang "I'm Fucking Great" and FUCKING GREAT she was! Molly brought the house down with this song as the audience cheered for minutes after she was done. Eleanor Reissa was brilliant as the "Grandmother/older Gittel!" She embodied her character, really making feel and care for her. Eleanor had several comedic moments that had everyone laughing. Cole Escola was delightful as the young kid. This show really showcased Cole's voice. He had an innoncence about him that was spot on for this role. Lisa Clair was great as "The youngest child/Britney Spears." Her acting skills were beyond wonderful and got the laugh everytime she was on stage. Megan Stern was very good as "Gittel Fenster," the 12-year old girl who's ready to take on the world. She carried herself very well and hit all the rights when singing. Leo Schaff was good as the "Father/Uncle," distiguinishing himself well between the two characters. I particularly liked his portrayal of the crazy uncle as he took on a completely different personality. I enjoyed Amy Gironda more as the child who wanted to be a Broadway star than as "Madonna." I very much felt for her as the child and could feel her sense of hoping and wanting.
I think "The Material World" has a lot of potential to be something great. I hope as it continues to be developed and worked on, it keeps the core messages of the show, but aligns the story a bit more. I also hope as much of the cast stays with it as possible. The show is worth checking out because of this cast and the amazingness of Dixon Place. I love attending shows there because it's a very intimate venue and their mission is to nuture the development of new works or works in progress. I try to support them as much as I can.
"The Material World" plays at Dixon Place as part of their HOT! Festival on Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm through July 28. Dixon Place is located at 161A Chrystie Street (between Rivington & Delancy). Click here for tickets!