Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party
Sacramento, CA 95818
It’s one helluva party, that’s for sure. Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party, a Drama Desk winner in its 2000 off-Broadway incarnation, chronicles a warped relationship’s demise during the party to end all parties. Based on an epic poem from the roaring ’20s that was, quite literally, banned in Boston as well as a number of other places, Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party focuses on the disintegrating love affair between Queenie (Amber Jean Moore), a stripper, and Burrs (Dan Masden), a vaudeville comedian. After an incident of domestic violence, Queenie plans to humiliate Burrs in public and so encourages him to throw a party.The guests make up a diverse crew: a boxer and his wife, a pair of unusually close songwriting brothers, the neighborhood lesbian, an underage ingénue and a range of similarly bohemian types. When Kate, a singularly loose woman, shows up with the mysterious Black (Scott Woodard), Queenie’s attraction to him spurs violent jealousy from Burrs in addition to the promise of real love. Of course, nothing works out the way it would in a traditional musical, if only because the sex-, alcohol- and cocaine-fueled party takes on a life of its own.
The music, performed note-perfectly by the house orchestra under the direction of Christopher Cook, is jazz-infused, swaggering blues. The production numbers, like “Raise the Roof” and “A Wild, Wild Party” (a song that’s more than a little blasphemous) left this reviewer enamored—especially of the somewhat lewd “An Old-Fashioned Love Story,” led by the showstopping Robin Hushbeck as Madelaine True, a woman-chasing dyke about town.
The real highlight of the show is the rambunctious and athletic choreography by Darryl Strohl, executed to perfection by a youthful and talented ensemble. These dancers rush nonstop from high-steppin’ to bump-and-grind in a breathless rush of great dancing. And yes, this is incredibly sexualized dancing. Don’t take the kids (no one under 17 will be admitted), and don’t expect The Sound of Music. Instead, be prepared for a highly charged and edgy production for adults only.