Review Roundup: Joe Iconis' LOVE IN HATE NATION at Two Rivers Theater
Two River Theater presents Love in Hate Nation, a world-premiere musical written (book, music and lyrics) by Joe Iconis, directed by John Simpkins. Love in Hate Nation has music direction and vocal arrangements by Annastasia Victory, music supervision and orchestrations by Charlie Rosen, and choreography by Mayte Natalio.
A turbulent rock romance set in a 1960s Juvie Hall, Love in Hate Nation uses classic "bad girl" movies as the inspiration for the story of young people caught between eras of a changing America. Sixteen-year old Susannah Son is carted off to the National Reformatory for Girls (a.k.a. Nation) to get her head put on straight. There she meets the aggressively incorrigible Sheila Nail, and a relationship forms which leads to an all-out "revolution in the institution" as they attempt to break out of the boxes society has created around them. Girl Group Wall of Sound harmonies are filtered through a punk rock spirit in this rebellious and romantic new musical.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Alexis Soloski, New York Times: In "Love in Hate Nation," the staging is fleet and the performances frisky, the choreography by Mayte Natalio eager, if unambitious. The show doesn't suffer the protagonist problem of "Be More Chill"; that show's teen hero was an underdog who probably deserved to stay down. Susannah, as played by the sweet and splendid Faye, with her wide-open face and clarion, cane-sugar voice, is immediately lovable. The trouble is, she's not much more than that.
Marina Kennedy, BroadwayWorld: Rock, punk rock, and moving melodies are included in the score, songs that will echo in your memory. The music and choreographies perfectly complement the story, a must for a great musical. Some of our favorites include "Life in Hate Nation" by The Girls; "Doc Shock Theme Song" by Doc Shock; "Miss Asp's Song" by Miss Asp; "The Other One" by Sheila and Susannah; "Jezebel" by Ya-Ya; "Masochist" by Kitty, Susannah and The Girls; and "Revolution Song" by The Girls.
Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson