BWW Reviews: Bootless Stageworks' MUSICAL OF MUSICALS: THE MUSICAL
You can fully enjoy Bootless Stageworks latest production - Musical of Musicals: The Musical - without knowing much about Broadway musicals. It's fun and it's funny and it's highly entertaining. Of course, the more familiar you are with Broadway musicals, the more you will enjoy the almost non-stop "in-jokes" that compose this show.
Musical of Musicals: The Musical takes one primal plot - a hapless heroine ("I can't pay the rent!"), a leering villain ("You must pay the rent!"), and a stalwart hero ("I'll pay the rent!"), plus a counseling, consoling crone (It's not a derogatory term. Look it up.) - and repaints it in pastiches of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd-Webber, and Kander & Ebb.
The scene for "A Little Complex" in Musical of Musicals: The Musical at Bootless Stageworks. (L-R) Abby (Rosanne DellAversano), Jitter (Michael Gamache), June (Elizabeth Holmes, and Willy/Billy (Mark Dixon)
JoAnne Bogart and Eric Rockwell created a work that demonstrates their extensive knowledge of the Broadway musical genre and succeeded in providing so many references to the previously mentioned composers' styles (and quirks). Even the casual fan will catch a great many references and even the maven will be hard pressed to keep up as the songs shift from musical to musical, each incorporating multiple "sources".
I had anticipated a musical parody, with amusingly altered lyrics set to familiar tunes. This was not the case. The music and lyrics are original, offering sly allusions, in musical and lyrical phrases, to easily identified themes and compositions of major Broadway musicals from Oklahoma (including a "run of Demille" dream ballet) through Chicago, with some faux Fosse choreography, sending them all down some very funny paths.
Bootless has constructed a very clever turntable as the centerpiece of its set, with a variety of appliances to allow the three primary scenes to be adapted to an appropriate setting for each composer or team. Scene changes seemed to drag a bit on opening night (prompting the keyboardist, who had exhausted his vamps to add a quick rendition of the Jeopardy theme - which added to the humor. With additional performances, I expect these will become smoother and quicker.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opening night performance of Bootless Stageworks' Musical (etc., etc., etc.). I am pretty familiar with Broadway musicals and I am sure that I did not pick up on all the references. Whether you are a musical aficionado or not, I think you will be highly entertained. I recommend this show to you.
Musical of Musicals: The Musical continues at the Black Box at OperaDelware's rehearsal space at 4 South Poplar Street, Wilmington DE through October 19. For tickets, visit www.bootless.org/musical-of-musicals. Runtime is about 90 minutes, with one 15-minute intermisssion.