BWW Reviews: THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS: THE MUSICAL Brings Roars of Laughter to Quality Hill Playhouse
You get song, you get dance, and the only thing that is missing is seltzer in your pants. The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! is one of the funniest productions to appear on the Quality Hill Playhouse stage. The musical with lyrics by Joanne Bogart, music by Eric Rockwell and stage direction by Rick Truman is performed in five sidesplitting acts. Each paying homage to composers and lyricist teams, all dealing with the same melodrama plot centering on a woman who cannot pay her rent.
J. Kent Barnhart, an original member of the first cast to perform the musical at Quality Hill, accompanies the cast on piano as they perform the five scenarios. As always, he is superb on the keyboard, but pay particular attention to his dialogue and especially to his attitude. In most of the Quality Hill shows, he is an abundance of knowledge, but in this production, his attitude tells the audience the most.
Act I, Corn, is performed in the style of Rodgers and Hammerstein with such numbers as "Oh, What Beautiful Corn," "Dream Ballet," and "Daylight Savings Time" among others. Act II, A Little Complex, is the style of Stephen Sondheim with tunes "The Story of Jitter," "I Have Birds," and "Getting Away With Murder" among others. Act III, Dear Abby, is the style of Jerry Herman with "The Life of the Party," "Take My Advice," and "Dear Abby" and more. Act IV, Aspects of Junita, is in the style of the great Broadway musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The cast performs songs "I've Heard That Song Before," "We Never Talk Anymore," and "Over The Top." The final act is Speakeasy, in the style of Kander and Ebb with songs such as "Hola, Aloha, Hello," "Color Me Gay," and "Round and Round" among others.
Jon Daugharthy appears as the boyfriend Billy, or a variation of the name Billy, who in each act comes to the rescue of his girlfriend. Daugharthy has a marvelous voice and a very good sense of comedic timing. He appeared in the original production of The Musicals of Musicals: The Musical at the Quality Hill Playhouse. He has appeared at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, American Heartland, and the Unicorn Theatre.
Julie Shaw, a member of the original production, plays Abby or Abigail in the five acts. Shaw is always delightful to listen to and does not disappoint in this production. In the final act, she struggles to climb onto the piano and sings as Fraulein Abby, causing the audience to erupt in laughter. She has appeared at The Coterie Theatre, Spinning Tree Theatre, and Musical Theatre Heritage.
Ashley Pankow makes her Quality Hill Playhouse debut with this production. She shows the audience she is not just another pretty face . . . that girl can sing! She plays the down and out June and variations of that name in each act. Besides her magnificent voice, she handled the comedy and dancing flawlessly. In Kansas City, she has appeared at Starlight and the New Theatre with Dyan Cannon. She has performed with National Tours and Regional Theatres across the country.
Tim Scott plays Jitter, the landlord in the five acts, who accepts more than cash or checks. Having heard Scott on many occasions the beautiful quality of his voice is no surprise. He always gives a grand performance, but watch out in Act IV as he steals the show. I am sure I missed several quality lines as I roared with laughter from his performance of the phantom. Scott, co-founder of Musical Theatre Heritage's Musical Mondays, has appeared at The Coterie, Starlight, and American Heartland Theatre.
The Musical of Musicals: The Musical! runs through May 25 at the playhouse. Purchase tickets at the Quality Hill Playhouse website or call the box office at 816-421-1700. Photo courtesy of Quality Hill Playhouse.