BWW Reviews: LITTLE ME Big on Talent and Value
Jason Graae is a comic genius. With his flawless changes from personality to personality, one might think "Little Me" a one-man show. But a fantastic ensemble also mounts an impossible-to-ignore smorgasbord of ever-changing, delightful characters. Performed in the capable hands of 42nd Street Moon, the "little" done musical perfectly combines melodrama and musical theatre.
The script follows Belle Poitrine in her rise to fame, as older Belle (the divalicious Teressa Byrne) narrates to her biographer (Caleb Haven). Young Belle (the glorious Sharon Rietkerk) comes from the wrong side of the tracks, but determines to gain wealth, culture and social status so she can marry the man she loves. Naturally, she comes across a wealth of husbands (and dead husbands) along the way.
Never has death been funnier, not only because of the ridiculous situations Belle finds herself in, but also because the audience knows when one incarnation of Graae leaves, another will soon appear. Graae moves from the child-like high school rich kid to an old Scrooge, from the eccentric Inspector Clousseau-type to the classic Steve Urkel nerd, and from a washed-up film director to princely monarch, all the while eliciting nonstop laughter from the audience.
Hector Zavala's bare, but elegant sets blend well with the on-stage action, matched with hilarious direction from Eric Inman and frequent dance breaks wonderfully choreographed by Staci Arriaga. The script also allows for numerous references to other musicals, a plus for theatre-buffs. Aside from the intimate nature of the lovely Eureka Theatre, there's really nothing little about this production. "Little Me" gives a rather large display of talent and leads to even bigger laughs.
Photo Credit: David Allen