Review: The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!
The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! is an unabashed love letter to Broadway. It’s full of the themes and personalities of musical theatre, performed by a spunky cast of five who give the material a loving, satirical touch. Brad Bong, Michael RJ Campbell, Kelly Ann Dunn, David Taylor Gomes and Martha Omiyo Kight sing and dance their hearts out.
Directed by Michael Laun, with music and book by Eric Rockwell and lyrics and book by Joanne Bogart, the play takes place in a theater that is about to be closed because its resident troupe can’t pay the rent. The company members gather for one last pitch to the landlord: Let them stay if they can come up with a surefire hit.
What follows is a series of five possibilities, each “in the style of” famous Broadway composers, including Rodgers and Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, and John Kander and Fred Ebb.
All are good, witty homages. And several will really delight musical theatre mavens. Some, though, may be a bit esoteric for “regular” theatre-goers. Most rewarding, perhaps because of wider mainstream acceptance, are the satires on Lloyd Webber’s many hits (Evita, Starlight Express, Phantom of the Opera and Jesus Christ Superstar among them) and the Kander and Ebb Speakeasy, which marries Cabaret and Chicago most effectively.