Review Roundup: NOBODY LOVES YOU Opens at Second Stage Theatre
Second Stage Theatre is presenting the new musical comedy, NOBODY LOVES YOU, featuring Heath Calvert (world premiere of Nobody Loves You at the Old Globe Theatre), Bryan Fenkart (Memphis), Roe Hartrampf (Second Stage Theatre Uptown's The Bad Guys), Autumn Hurlbert(Legally Blonde), Leslie Kritzer (Legally Blonde, A Catered Affair), Lauren Molina (Sweeney Todd, Rock of Ages), Rory O'Malley (Tony nominee for The Book of Mormon) and Aleque Reid (Really Really). The show opened tonight, July 18, 2013.
Featuring book and lyrics by Itamar Moses, music and lyrics by Gaby Alter, choreography by MAndy Moore, and direction by Michelle Tattenbaum, the new musical comedy NOBODY LOVES YOU follows a philosophy grad student who auditions for - and surprisingly finds himself cast on - a reality TV dating show, all in an attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend. But when an unexpected on-set love connection threatens to ruin his plan, manufactured drama collides with real emotion in this original new musical.
Charles Isherwood, The New York Times: Virtually the entire appeal of competition shows is the groaning feast of scorn-worthiness they offer...All of these delectable horrors, and more, are lampooned in this agreeably snarky musical..."Nobody Loves You" hurls darts at its soft target with impressive aim, nimbly spoofing a subject you'd think would be spoof-proof - thus defeating odds tougher than your chances of landing a spot on "The Amazing Race."...But while it is hard to feel too much for the hero and heroine, it's fun to watch the circus surrounding them.
Linda Winer, Newsday: At the very least, for now, the rom-com musical and reality-TV parody is a bright, clued-in, quick-witted amusement about a target that, granted, seems far too big and easy to mock. But mocked it is, thanks to the sly book and lyrics by Itamar Moses, the music and lyrics by Gaby Alter and a knowing cast directed with just the right appreciation of the absurd by Michelle Tattenbaum. Although many of the songs are bubble gum pop, it is excellent bubble gum that only gets sticky when the tight construction unwinds toward the end and sentimentality creeps in.
David Cote, Time Out NY: ...along comes the cheeky and highly crushable Nobody Loves You, a musical satire set in the phony echo chamber of reality TV. In case you missed that America had devolved into a wasteland of media-addled bro-douches and ho-skanks, here is your witty wake-up call...Alter's score adroitly tweaks pop conventions, and the lyrics find endless ways to recycle motifs about realness, fakery and narcissism. And it's exciting to see a playwright of Moses's gifts play with a new structure. There may be no surprises as Nobody sets up and hits its targets, but as in many "unscripted" programs (so I hear), some barbs hit your funny bone, others your heart.
Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly: The characters are mostly clichés, but a few performers manage to stand out: Heath Calvert as the vain and none-too-bright host of the show, Autumn Hurlbert as the needy, self-esteem-deficient third-grade-teacher, and Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon) pulling triple duty as Jeff's stoner roommate, a regular-dude contestant, and as an ultra-gay blogger/superfan of the show whose big song consists mostly of slinging the hashtag jokes. In fact, the show's biggest shortcoming is Alter's pleasant but forgettable pop-inflected score, which has a melodic shelf life that's shorter than any of the reality series the show is seeking to send up. There is a cleverish comic idea at the core of Nobody Loves You. But like many a reality-TV showman, this musical just isn't built to last. C+
Matt Windman, AM New York: "Nobody Loves You" proves how a rock musical intended to parody reality television can be just as irritating and uninteresting - if not even more so - than the programming it was meant to deconstruct in the first place...Reality television is such an easy target for spoofing that "Nobody Loves You" fails to provide any new or valuable insight. More importantly, its songs, which contain bulky lyrics and bland, forgettable music, are pretty bad, and the characters tend to be superficial...It is only Aleque Reid, as the lowly production assistant Jenny, who de livers anything close to an honest, fully realized performance.
Jeremy Gerard, Bloomberg: "Nobody Loves You," the new musical at New York's Second Stage, mines rich veins of addictive cruelty, pseudo-intellectual baloney and sitcom fabulousness to skewer both reality-TV shows and the viewers who tweet about them...Michelle Tattenbaum's production (with calisthenic choreography by Mandy Moore) is lively, congenially put across by a very game cast on Mark Wendland's utilitarian set. Sentimental at heart, there's nothing remotely real about "Nobody Loves You," but I suppose that's part of the point.
Joe Dziemianowicz, Daily News: A delectable cast and some juicy zingers matter, but they can't cover up all the imperfections in a show with cracks. And "Nobody Loves You," a new Off-Broadway musical mockery of reality TV, packs some pretty big fissures. Chief among them: it drags and sags when characters sing.
Michael Sommers, NJ Newsroom: Just as hot weather makes you crave chilling drinks and ice cream more than usual, the summertime tends to incline people towards lighter entertainment in their theatergoing. "Nobody Loves You," a lively new musical comedy at Second Stage Theater, opened on Thursday and proves to be an agreeable Off Broadway diversion that beats the heat.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus