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Review: MONSTERS! A MIDLIFE MUSICAL MELTDOWN at Hanover Little Theatre

A funny and inspirational production on stage through June 16th.

By: Jun. 09, 2024
Review: MONSTERS! A MIDLIFE MUSICAL MELTDOWN at Hanover Little Theatre  Image
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Thank you to Linda Fink, our guest reviewer for this production. Linda, a librarian for Littlestown Area School District, has loved live theater since she was a little girl. As an adult, she has enjoyed being both on stage and in the audience in the south-central PA area.

Monsters! A Midlife Musical Meltdown, written by Gail Phaneuf and Ernie Lijoi, is a humorous and relatable take on the monsters, or demons (as some prefer to be called), that lurk inside our minds. Presented at the Hanover Little Theatre, Monsters is directed by Andrea Stephenson with music direction by Colleen Mundis.

The modern-day show is set in Samantha’s New York City apartment on her 40th birthday.  When her mother pays a birthday visit, Sam reveals her intentions to quit her Wall Street job and move to Peru to pursue a new life as an archaeologist. Her new life plan puts her inner monsters in jeopardy, making them finally reveal themselves in physical form to torment her.

Lindy Keefe shines as Samantha, with strong vocals throughout the show. She has great interactions with all of the monsters and makes it easy for the audience to sympathize and root for her in her journey. Heather Stoll does a nice job being compassionate but cynical and overbearing as Mother, trying to convince her daughter that this upheaval of her life is not a good idea. Stoll has some real zingers, “Your brains turn to mush when you turn 40,” that she delivers perfectly and keeps the time from dragging.

After Mother reveals her birthday gift to Samantha, used to great effect throughout the show (but you'll have to come see the show to see what it is!), the monsters begin to reveal themselves, one at a time, each with their own way of tormenting Sam. Apathy (Jessica Haag),  Fear (Jaime Elizabeth), and Body (Matthew Oyler) bring to life very familiar insecurities and relish in their attempts to derail Sam.

The entrance of Birthday Girl, played with gusto by Mandy Murren, breathes some fresh air into the interactions. Giving Sam an unlikely ally, she helps move the show forward. Their interactions allow Sam to stop reacting to her demons and think about how she can move ahead and balance her life. 

While some of the group numbers were a bit rough on opening night, the simple piano accompaniment (by Vanessa Rice) allows the solo songs, such as "Half of a Life", to shine. The cast members are clearly enjoying themselves, bringing the audience along on an amusing and entertaining ride through the mind. Monsters! A Midlife Musical Meltdown runs through June 16th, so click the button below to get your tickets today! 


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