BWW Review: Suzy Conn's CHICK FLICK, THE MUSICAL Celebrates Friendships and Film Fantasies
While this reviewer is always up for a tub of popcorn and a screening of "Crossing Delancey" or "Muriel's Wedding," Suzy Conn's spirited CHICK FLICK, THE MUSICAL is more accurately aimed at connoisseurs of the genre; those whose everyday conversation is packed with quotes from Nora Ephron screenplays and who are experts at determining which chardonnays go with Barbra and which with Meryl.
In fact, you can test your knowledge immediately upon entering the upstairs auditorium at The Westside Theatre by scanning the logos on the dozens of movie posters decorating designer Jason Sherwood's set, all of which have had their titles cleverly replaced with "Chick Flick."
After a catchy opening number that introduces how the four main characters gain temporary escape from life's challenges through their favorite films ("For a couple of hours I can wear those Jimmy Choos I can't afford / And live in a world where every moment's underscored."), the musical's continuous action takes place on a night when four friends gather for one of their regular nights of drinking too much, eating too much, watching a flick and, most importantly, providing a support system for each other.
Each is living with issues that could be the set-up for her own chick flick. The evening's host, Karen (Sharon Catherine Brown as a sensible woman who seems dying to bust out from her responsible lifestyle) has a fabulous career in publishing, but her relationship with her daughter can use some editing. Her best friend since college, Dawn (bundle of frenetic energy, Megan Sikora), works frequently as an actor, but still requires a sideline in cosmetics to pay the bills and is reaching an age where opportunities for women in show business begin to fade.
On the younger side of the quartet, there's baker on the rise, Meg (sunny Carla Duren, who pack a bluesy growl), who puts up with way too much from her boyfriend, and greeting card designer Shelia (comic dynamo Lindsay Nicole Chambers, an expert at extracting humor from seemingly innocent lines), who is addicted to dating apps and the lure of movie-style romance.
There's no plot except for how the four find emotional support from each other and from the fantasy world their favorite movies supply. Along with the debate over whether "Love, Actually" or "The Notebook" qualifies as the greatest chick flick ever, the strongest conflict is how Dawn envies Karen's career success while Karen wishes she had the guts that Dawn did to take a risk and follow her dream.
Song cues are derived from familiar topics and titles like "Eat Your Feelings," "The Chick Flick Drinking Game" and "From Meet Cute To Happy Ending" pretty much some up their content (although it took a few extra bars for this reviewer to figure out what "Iced Seduction" was supposed to mean). Conn has a talent for pleasing melodies but the intended cleverness of her book and lyrics tends to lag.
If you can immediately figure out what the initials in the song title "WWMD" mean, you are in the target audience for this show. Groups of women looking for fun entertainment for a friend's night would certainly relate to the material more than this reviewer did, but nevertheless, CHICK FLICK, THE MUSICAL is presented with professional polish and the talented company shines.