The Musical of Musicals

Poster-Musical-790-200x300Have you ever wondered what if Jonathan Larson didn’t write Rent, but Rogers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, or Kander & Ebb wrote it instead?

Wonder no more, as you can finally unwind your fantasies and find the answer you’ve been looking for in off the WALL theatre’s newest production of Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell’s musical parody classic, The Musical of Musicals (The Musical)!

Originally premiered off-Broadway in 2003, the show tells the ageless melodrama story of “I can’t pay the rent” with some all-too-cliche theater characters such a beautiful leading lady who cannot pay her rent, a villainous landlord who demands the rent be paid, and a handsome hero and love interest who eventually offers to pay the rent. But the catch is that the story will be told five times over the course of five acts, and each act differently through the style of a famous musical theater composer or composer/lyricist team. So as you can imagine, the entire musical is full of stylistic jokes and lyric puns, and the audience never stopped laughing throughout the show.

The cast was an ensemble effort, with one music director Nancy Gordon Galuzzo masterfully playing the piano like a full orchestra, and six actors rotating between characters. Leading lady June is played mostly by Ms. Brittany Graham, who delivered a great range of lovable personalities and won all the applause with her stunning vocal in the ALW/Phantom of the Opera parody segment. Her major savior in the show is played by Mr. Ryan Patrick Kearney, who always managed to save the plot and the scene with just the right dosage of comedy and romance. Ms. Elizabeth Flemming functions mostly as the character actress in the show and plays the comic relief with a spirit. And her on-stage dynamic in the Company-inspired sequence with her co-star Ms. Elizabeth Boyke in the Sondheim segment easily made it one of my favorite Acts.

But the true superstars of the night must go to the Director Ms. Robyne Parrish and the choreographer Mr. Gavan Pamer, both of whom are also featured as actors in the cast. Under Ms. Parrish’s direction, all five acts came together as one seamless unison of satirical comedy, and whenever she was on stage, whether as the “Mame” or the “queen” from Sunset Boulevard, the energy in the theater only got higher and louder. And that excitement was delightfully augmented by Mr. Pamer’s on-point choreography, which truly brought back the Broadway glamour in big dance numbers such as the Cabaret-inspired Speakeasy Willkomen. The big bonus finish was the entire cast standing in “a chorus line” singing about how the show is not only over, but “Done”. From the demon artist landlord, to the phantom of the “meow-pera”, every character Mr. Pamer plays was a highlight and took home the most applause of the evening.

The designs of this production are filled with audiences’ favorite things from those classic musicals as well. Ms. Adrienne Fischer and Ms. Jenna Campbell’s set and sound design brilliantly traveled between stories and dimensions in between acts along with several peculiar and familiar surprises including certain murderous door bell. Ms. Madeleine Steineck’s lighting will take you back through time to the original moment you fell in love with these composers with a just a few changes of color and light. And finally, whenever there’s a magical chandelier involved, you just know it’s the “production of the night”.

Whether you know your musicals like you know your alphabet, or just want to laugh for two and half hours, The Musical of Musicals (the Musical) is THE musical for you! Because when legendary composers combined with sensational casts, all that’s guaranteed is always great great fun!

Special thanks to off the WALL productions for complimentary press tickets. The Musical of Musicals (the Musical) runs at Carnegie Stage until May 21st. For tickets and more information, click here