BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal Performances

BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal Performances

The Max Factor Factor/book by Adrian Bewley/music by Joe Blodgett/lyrics by Chana Wise/directed by Michael A. Sheppard/The NoHo Arts Center/thru August 31, 2014

The Max Factor Factor boasts precision dancing and gorgeous harmonies amidst well-timed madcap shtick. This world premiere musical, co-produced by New Musicals Inc. and the Celebration Theatre, entertainingly depicts the zany tale of two leading men of the Silver Screen who fall in forbidden love in 1936 Hollywood.

With the arrival of newly-appointed censor madam of the "Legion of Rectitude," the closeted hunks' rivaling studios rally to protect their cash cows from being outed.

Both Jeff Scot Carey and Jeffrey Christopher Todd, quite believably play, sing and dance the roles of the cinematic romantic leads. Their initial duet "You Know What I Mean" seduces as it should.

BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal PerformancesBut, with a cast of scene-stealing performers, focus get frequently and easily pilfered from these two.

As the two beards, er, leading ladies to these actors; Jessica Howell and Jessica Snow Wilson both have their many, many moments to shine with some wonderful physical comedy and double takes. Both 'do' drunk hilariously well, especially in their second act number "Bad."

Stefan Rich; as the young, handsome, corn-fed wanna-be-star Johnny Strong; hits all the right notes of uproarious naivety and the right poses of preening biceps.

Jordan Kai Burnett, limning the niece of film director Fred (Kevin Michael Moran), gets to strut her hysterical moves in her attempts at seduction of rival film director Hank (a fine Kevin McIntyre). Will he or won't he succumb to her sexy wiles?

BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal PerformancesAlex Boling, Everjohn Feliciano, and Trevor Shor splendidly comprise the "Trio;" the harmonizing barbershop quartet (minus one), dancing perfectly in-sync as one unit in their variety of supporting, yet integral roles. Think the Pips behind Gladys Knight, or the auto-tunings of Britney. The Trio command centerstage in their rousing "The Underground Railroad."

Saving the best scene-stealer of the cast for last--the formidable Heather Olt as the Hollywood censor madam Cordelia Goodwife. Olt's pitch-perfect double takes and self-congratulatory posturing really get a showcase in the second act opener "The Brightest Star." Baby Boomers should recognize Olt channeling 1970's actress-comedian Eileen Brennan. (Millennials ask your elders who she is.) Olt's line deliveries and physical traits should guarantee she nails any casting calls for "a Eileen Brennan type."

BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal PerformancesPalmer Davis' witty, clever choreography receives wonderfully clean execution from the talented, obviously well-rehearsed, triple-threat cast in all the ensemble numbers, especially "The Brightest Star" and tango-infused "Can't Wait."

Michael A. Shepperd ably directs, with the second act purposely more even paced and energetic than the first. Always much preferred than having the reverse.

Eric McCann on bass with Brian Cannady on drums, led by pianist/musical director Bryan Blaskie smoothly provides the appropriate musical stylings of the evening.

Scenic designer Carlo Maghirang makes full efficient use of the NoHo Arts Center stage with his utilitarian two-story set, easily morphing from the main Max Factor make-up room to various offices, hotel rendezvous, and ledges for suicidal purposes.

BWW Reviews: THE MAX FACTOR FACTOR - A Frothy Farcical Mixture of Frivolity Features Some Fine Phenomenal PerformancesEnough bright elements in The Max Factor Factor to make a light two hours of pleasant theatre.

www.nmi.org

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Gil Kaan Gil Kaan, a former Managing Editor of the now-defunct Genre magazine, has had the privilege of photographing and interviewing some major divas of film, television, and stage in his career; including Ann-Margret, Diana Ross, Faye Dunaway, Carol Channing, Shirley MacLaine, Catherine Deneuve, Liza Minnelli, Sandra Bernhard, Glenn Close, Anna Nicole Smith, Margaret Cho, and three Catwomen—Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether and Julie Newmar. He had the fortuitous opportunity to conduct Lily Tomlin’s coming out interview. Gil has since reviewed movies and theatre for a number of local Los Angeles and national outlets. Check out his video interviews with the talented participants of S.T.A.G.E. @ http://apla.convio.net/site/PageServer?pagename=STAGE_Video

A montage of Gil’s Halloween Carnavale photos through the first decade of 2000 was selected to be included in the WeHo@ 25 juried exhibition in West Hollywood.


 
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