Let's Talk Off Broadway

Yvonne Korshak reviews Off-Broadway, Broadway, Film and Art

Tag: musical

Review | Found: A New Musical | Directed by Lee Overtree | Based on the Found Books and Magazines by Davy Rothbart | Music and Original Lyrics by Eli Bolin | Book by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree | Atlantic Theater Company

… found objects … 

Found is a charming, touching musical with lots of big laughs, beautifully performed.

It turns out there’s really a magazine, Found, that collects bits and pieces and scraps of writing — “love letters, birthday cards, kids’ homework, to-do lists, ticket stubs, poetry on napkins, receipts, doodles”  — and now there’s a totally delightful musical based on them. 

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Review | Donnybrook! The Musical of the Movie The Quiet Man | Music and Lyrics by Johnny Burke | Book by Robert E. McEnroe | Directed by Charlotte Moore | Based on The Quiet Man, Short Story by Maurice Walsh | Irish Repertory Theatre

The world doesn’t need this musical.  Set in a fictional Irish village, Innisfree, in the 1920’s, it’s about the “cute Irish,” and their quaint ways including the great fun of settling conflicts with a brutal, free-for-all fight — a “donnybrook.”

The central idea, from Maurice Walsh’s 1933 Saturday Evening Post short story, is interesting — an Irish-American boxer, having killed a man and determined never to fight again, returns to his Irish village where he’s forced into a fight mandated by custom (the “donnybrook”) in order to uphold the honor of his village bride. 

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Review | Working, A Musical | From the Book by Studs Terkel | Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso | Contributions by Gordo Greenberg | Prospect Theater Company | 59E59 Theaters

… singing about work …

People talked about working in Studs Terkel’s oral history book of 1974, Working:  People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do — in Working, the musical, they sing about it.

It’s a great idea — as composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz — of Godspell and Wicked —  thought when he first brought Working to the stage not long after the publication of Terkel’s book.  Revised and performed through the years, in its current version it’s an engaging and at times moving series of fine musical numbers (though I wish there were no rhymes, see below), beautifully performed by a cast of six who, all in all, take the parts of twenty-six characters and sing in the ensemble.

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Review | Odyssey, The Epic Musical | Matt Britten Director, Book and Lyrics | Dimitri Landrain Composer, Vocal Arrangements | Daniel Sefik Music Director, Additional Lyrics | Marianne Ward Set Designer, Scenic Paint Charge | Araca Project | American Theater of Actors

… a big musical on its way …

Odyssey calls itself an epic musical and it is.  It has the look of a musical headed to Broadway and — with some strengthening — it will get there. Meanwhile, it’s tremendous fun!

First of all, the set is gorgeous.  The show is playing in a fairly small theater but the stage is vast and the set uses all of it in a seemingly serendipitous, free flowing way to suggest the sea, the islands in it, the voyages across it, and the high realm of the gods and the earthy realm of humans.  It’s a set that conveys the complexity and exhilaration of existence – it’s wonderful, and keeps you on the journey even when occasionally the play gets a little waterlogged.  Nets, sails and figureheads — it has lots of blue and turquoise and one wants to be there.  (You can even get the flavor in the design of their web page.)

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Josh Grisetti and the cast of Enter Laughing, The Musical.  Photo by Jerry Lamonica

Review | Enter Laughing, The Musical | Book by Joseph Stein | Music & Lyrics by Stan Daniels | Music Direction by Phil Reno, Music Arrangements & Orchestrations by Matt Castle | Direction & Musical Staging by Stuart Ross | Bay Street Theatre, Sag Harbor, Long Island

I never saw anything funnier than Enter Laughing. The situations are hilarious, the songs are witty, and the cast is out of sight perfect.  If you enjoy laughing, really, you have to see this.   It has  only one “message”:  the life-affirming power of pure fun. 

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