The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!
withMichael RJ CampbellJessica GoldmanMartha Omiyo KightJerry LeeDirector | Michael LaunChoreographer | Tyler WarrenMusic Director | Erik DaniellsJanuary 12 - February 20, 2011Sacramento Theatre Company1419 H St.Sacramento, California 95814(916) 443-6722http://www.sactheatre.org
Reviews and Recognition for
The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!
Review: Fun 'Musical' spoof at Sacramento Theatre Company
by Jim Carnes, The Sacramento Bee
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
You can be forgiven if you haven't heard of "The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)" now playing at Sacramento Theatre Company's Pollock Stage. It's an off-Broadway show that's had only scattered regional theater productions – STC's is the Sacramento premiere of the 2003 show – but you've certainly heard – and seen – the shows lovingly satirized in this tribute to the Broadway musical.
Eric Rockwell (who graduated from California State University, Sacramento) and writing-performing partner Joanne Bogart wrote the music and lyrics, respectively, and collaborated on the book for this quick, witty review of pop theater culture.
Rockwell and Bogart posed themselves a very simple but challenging question: How would five of the most successful musical theater writers or writing teams tell the same story? The more familiar you are with musical theater, the higher your level of appreciation for the craft involved here. But even a complete novice can enjoy the tunes and the presentation.
In "Musical of Musicals," the same essential plot – girl can't pay the rent; landlord demands payment (in cash or, uh, "services" of some sort); boy wants to help; jaded lady offers sage advice; rent gets "paid," mostly, sort of – is presented five times, each in a different style.
With minimalist accompaniment (excellent piano and narration provided by Erik Daniells), the four- person cast of Jessica Goldman, Jerry Lee, Michael RJ Campbell and Martha O. Kight delivers the five roughly 15-minute individual shows with style and aplomb. Each is an excellent singer and each performs the inside-theater stuff with a knowing wink.
In Act One, "Corn" is presented in the style of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. And, yes, that title refers to more than the fields of grain you might find in "Oklahoma!" Other Rodgers and Hammerstein shows on the skewer include "Carousel," "South Pacific," "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music."
The songs are not just in the style of the famous duo, but some of the dialogue directly references the pair's work. One jarring element is "He hit me and it felt like a kiss," a reference to "Carousel" that is difficult to accept in this otherwise light setting. Even Rodgers and Hammerstein reportedly were uncomfortable with it.
Goldman and Lee are very likable here as June and Big Willie. And there's much fun in the "It was a really great party" tribute to "Carousel's" "This Was a Real Nice Clambake," which the composers had reworked from "A Real Nice Hayride" (written for "Oklahoma!" but cut from it).
"A Little Complex" is done in the style of Stephen Sondheim and features a demon artist (Campbell) rather than a barber. Clever allusions to "Into the Woods," "Sweeney Tood" and "A Little Night Music" are obvious. Less so are "Decorum" ("A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to …"), references to the undervalued "Assassins" and a bit of dialogue about "specific overtures" (a.k.a. "Pacific Overtures").
The third exercise, "Dear Abby," is done in the style of Jerry Herman. Kight is a delight as Abby (a.k.a. Mame, Dolly – you name her), the lady who's been around enough to know how to get the rent paid for ya.
Act Two includes two of the snarkiest and most enjoyable "tributes," a takeoff on the works of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber ("Aspects of Junita") that skewers the king of repetition of melody and theme, and a right-on re-creation of the works John Kander and Fred Ebb ("Speakeasy").
In the first, "Phantom of the Opera," "Evita" and "Cats" get their comedy due – and a dig at "Starlight Express" is priceless, if obvious. In the second, "Chicago," "Cabaret" and "Kiss of the Spiderwoman" come under Rockwell and Bogart's gaze. So, too, do "New York, New York" and poor Liza Minnelli (in a way theater cognoscenti can really appreciate). And then, it's "Done.""The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)" plays through Feb. 20. See it for the first time soon because you'll probably want to go back.
Review: Like Musicals? Hate Musicals? You"ll love this!
by Jeff Hudson, Sacramento News & Review
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Take one standard-issue plot (snarling landlord demanding rent from damsel in distress) and stage it five ways, satirizing the signature style of famous musicals. That’s the recipe for this energetic pastiche, which lovingly lampoons Rodgers and Hammerstein (Oklahoma!), Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd), Andrew Lloyd Webber (The Phantom of the Opera, Cats), Kander and Ebb (Cabaret), and Jerry Herman (Hello, Dolly!), among others. If you are love classic musicals, you will giggle at the exceedingly clever references both musical and verbal. But if you grew up on modern pop (or punk), you may find yourself wondering why other folks are laughing at an in joke you didn’t quite get. Charming performances from a well-chosen quartet of locals: Michael R.J. Campbell, Martha Omiyo Kight, Jerry Lee and Jessica Goldman, plus Erik Daniells on keyboard.