BWW Review: I'LL GET YOU BACK AGAIN at Round House Theatre - A World Premiere Play With Music

So much time and effort goes into presenting any sort of play... from the written word, direction, set design, lighting, sound, and especially the actors. And here in I'LL GET YOU BACK AGAIN, it's the play that needs a little work and tweaking.

The play with music (which I wish had more) is directed by the Tony-nominated Rachel Chavkin for her incredible hit musical THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 where she did a spectacular job with actors in a revamped theater turned into a cabaret house based on the novel "War And Peace". When I noticed she would be directing this world premiere play by Sarah Gancher I was stunned she would be coming to the Round House Theatre in Bethesda. She has such a great future ahead of her. Here, she is working with Gancher's work about an aging rock band set for a reunion concert returning to their base in San Francisco at the home of the aging guitarist "Carl" (the superb David PatRick Kelly who I recall was so terrific in the hit Broadway musical ONCE). It is his health that has prompted the band to play together one more time. (Did they actually perform with the Rolling Stones?)

Speaking of the Stones, I have often imagined what happens to aging rock stars and I envisioned them jamming in a nursing home. Well, here they ARE jamming and it's fun to watch these aging musicians getting on.

Carl's niece "Chloe" (the wonderful Renata Friedman) is helping the band playing the bass filling in for her late father "Jimmy" (Brian Reisman). Chloe is a budding comedienne and opens the show with distasteful monologue which maybe should have been left on the cutting room floor.

The lead singer is "Coyote Dan" (the always terrific Dan Manning) who lights up the stage wearing his cowboy boots and his powerful booming voice. I've heard his voice before in Jacques BrelL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS many years ago at the Everyman Theatre.

Playing "Coyote Dan" in a flashback is Harrison Smith.

On the drums playing "Melvin" is Michael Anthony Williams. In a flashback Jonathan Livas plays a mean solo a la the late Gene Krupa. Both Smith and Livas deserve more time on stage.

It is always a pleasure to watch Helen Hedman. Playing the role of "Tulip" she fills the role of a "60's" groupie and she shines. When she and Dan Manning have a brief encounter in the kitchen my face hurt with laughter.

It is not the actors' fault or the Director's fault that the play really doesn't work. With a few more workshops, I believe there is great potential here. Believe it or not there is much humor about "The Three Stooges" along with their sight gags. I can only imagine there were many young people in the audience who had no knowledge of the "Stooges".

There is great work by Set Designer Carolyn Mraz who arranged a rotating set which features great Indian art work, Jared Mezzocchi is the Production Designer who does great work with his projections with amoeba-like representations on the walls to put you in the psychedelic mood of the '60s,, superb lighting by Nancy Schertler, spot on costumes Brenda Abbaandandolo, and great sound design by Jared Mezzocchi.

It's a long night of theater and when it is cut and rewritten, may be a huge success. It's possible.

Read a revealing interview with Director Chavkin by Nelson Pressley n the Washington Post, October 8, 2017 p. E3. In it, Chavkin says of the play "It's the 'Big Chill' meets 'The Grateful Dead'.

I'LL GET YOU BACK AGAIN runs through Oct. 29, 2017 at the Round House Theatre until Oct. 29. For tickets call 240-644-1100 or visit

Next up is THE BOOK OF WILL (yes, that Will) running Nov. 29 to Dec. 24, 2017.


Set your DVR's for Friday nights October 20, 2017 to December 1, 2017 for some special Broadway presentations:

BROADWAY'S BEST, FRIDAY NIGHTS (Fridays, October 20 - December 1, 9-11 pm ET)

Great Performances "She Loves Me" (Friday, October 20, 9-11:30 pm ET)

Two feuding clerks in a 1930s Budapest parfumerie unwittingly find solace in each other as anonymous romantic pen pals-not realizing their respective correspondents are in fact each other. Laura Benanti, Zachary Levi, Jane Krakowski and Gavin Creel star.

Great Performances "Present Laughter" (Friday, November 3, 9-11:30 pm ET)

Enjoy a sparkling revival of Noël Coward's Present Laughter, a comedy about a self-obsessed actor in the midst of a mid-life crisis. The cast features Kevin Kline, who won the Best Leading Actor Tony Award, as well as Kate Burton, Kristine Nielsen and Cobie Smulders.

Great Performances "In the Heights - Chasing Broadway Dreams" (Encore)

(Friday, November 10, 9-10 pm ET)

In the aftermath of the phenomenal success of Lin-Manuel Miranda's blockbuster Broadway musical Hamilton in 2016, Great Performances presents a special encore of "In the Heights: Chasing Broadway Dreams," a performance-documentary chronicling the story behind Miranda's first Tony Award-winning hit in 2008.

Great Performances "Indecent" (Friday, November 17, 9-11 pm ET)

  1. new play from Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel and director Rebecca Taichman is set at a time when waves of immigrants were changing the face of America. The Tony Award-winning drama with music, a riveting look at an explosive moment in theatrical history, is inspired by the true story of the controversial 1923 Broadway debut of Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance.

Great Performances "Holiday Inn" (Friday, November 24, 9-11:30 pm ET)

The Roundabout Theatre Company presents a Broadway adaptation of the 1942 movie musical that starred Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. This heartwarming classic with a contemporary sparkle features thrilling dance numbers, laugh-out-loud comedy and a parade of Irving Berlin hit songs.

Great Performances "Hamilton's America" (Encore) (Friday, Dec 1, 9-10:30 pm ET)

Follows the creation of Lin-Manuel Miranda's pop culture Broadway phenomenon, Hamilton, and the history behind it. Interviews with Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, Nas, Questlove, Stephen Sondheim and more.

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From This Author Charles Shubow

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