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30 Days of NYMF: Spies, Catsuits & Thongs... I Mean Songs

by Jimmy Ray Bennett, role of Nick Steele in Sympathy Jones

Ever been forced into a hasty escape from pygmy pursuers by creating a guava based explosion as you navigate a zip line through the jungle, hanging from a wristwatch on the thread of a tube sock, all the while thinking about the future of musical theatre? Are you an international spy with a penchant for gadgetry, espionage and deception, whose true secret is their love of bright costumes, swirling gobos and power ballads? Well then put down your Shirley Bassey LP, call Valerie Plame, and run to see Sympathy Jones.

Sympathy Jones is a spy musical set in the 60s. Let's face it, spies today have a lot more to worry about, like being outed by the administration sworn to protect them. The word that comes to mind when I try to encapsulate my experience with the show (besides sex, biceps and flesh) is "fun". I don't mean when you don't like something, yet still have to compliment your friend, so you're all, "Fun, really fun. Call me." We have such a great time on this project that I feel like I'm back in the sand box, minus the chaffing and peer abuse. Our director, Sarah Gurfield, always seems to turn her head the minute I am making a face, telling a secret, or laughing hysterically. I, of course, go up to her each night after rehearsal and blame it all on Kate Shindle. I'm not going to lie to you. I love women. Not enough to marry one or pay for dinner mind you. But give me a hinged mouth, belting a high F at the end of a "give me courage" number and I'm on my feet. Unless my feet hurt or I'm already standing.

I suppose I could tell you what the show is about. It's about an hour forty-five. No dream ballets. No puppets with monologues. Maybe a little park and bark, but not much. And I have two words for you. Tony. Nominee. Recently, Jane Summerhays joined the fun and she fits the role like a high-waisted, low collared polyester pantsuit with ivory eyelets and a pair of matching espadrilles. A perfect fit. Of course we are all led by the vision of our talented creatives, Masi Asare and Brooke Pierce. That being said, come see our show!

Oh, and by the way. I Spy, with my eye, something purple. It may or may not be a catsuit worn by myself, or the brilliant Miss Shindle. I'm just saying.

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