BWW Reviews: THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS, THE MUSICAL! Hysterically Parodies the Best Loved Musicals of All Time
Chromolume Theatre presents THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS, THE MUSICAL! with book by JoAnne Bogart and Eric Rockwell, music by Rockwell, and lyrics by Bogart, and will be directed for Chromolume by Kristin Towers-Rowles. With choreography by Samantha Whidby and music direction by Richard Berent, the show runs November 8 - December 8, 2013.
In this hilarious satire of musical theatre, one story becomes five delightful musicals, each written in the distinctive style of a different master of the form, from Rodgers & Hammerstein to Stephen Sondheim - and they all deal with the same classic melodrama plot - "I can't pay the rent!" George Carlin famously joked a topic had to be universal for it to be funny. Well this topic certainly is and this show is hysterical!
Granted it helps to have a musical theater background to catch the parodies in the five vignettes: "Corn" in the style of Rodgers & Hammerstein, "A Little Complex" in the style of Stephen Sondheim, "Dear Abby" in the style of Jerry Herman, "Aspects of Junita" in the style of Andrew Lloyd Webber and "Speakeasy" in the style of Kandor and Ebb. And it is very apparent director Kristin Towers-Rowles and choreographer Samantha Whidby are masters at all five styles, each segment totally different from the others and representative of some of the greatest musical Theater Productions ever to grace a stage from Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods. And that's just during the first two segments of the show!
Director Kristin Towers-Rowles is a third generation musical theatre actress and her knowledge of the genre is reflected throughout the production. Her grandmother was the MGM film star Kathryn Grayson and her grandfather was musician, film actor and Broadway leading man Johnny Johnston. Her mother, Patricia Towers, was a stage actress and singer and her father, Robert Towers, is also a film/stage/TV/radio vet of almost 65 years. Towers-Rowles performed in several national and international tours and at theatres all over California. She spent a year in rep at Sierra Repertory Company and also directed for Kelrik Productions in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. She is the co-artistic director of Sustaining Sound Theatre Company.
Featured in the cast on the night I attended were Eduardo Enrikez (the villain), Kimberly Hessler (the ingénue), Jason Peter Kennedy (the hero) and Kelly Meyersfield (the matron) with musical director Richard Berent on piano. As the show moves between styles in the segments, these talented actors change their entire aura and essence of being, playing it for laughs as they move effortlessly from character to character, tongue firmly in cheek.
Kelly Meyersfield is a wonder parodying the matron, her rubbery facial expressions creating audience hysterics during a cross-eyed high note. Sweet-voiced Kimberly Hessler, ever the ingénue, keeps the theme in place, struggling to pay the rent through each of the vignettes. Eduardo Enrikez is a marvel, especially his take on the Emcee during the "Cabaret" parody. While the ladies dazzle in their red lingerie during this bit, it is Jason Peter Kennedy who steals the show as the brazen red teddy clad Kit Kat girl who finally agrees to pay the rent with his body!
There is a line in the show that pretty much sums up its raison d'etre - Who cares if you're over the hill when you're over the top? And you will enjoy every single minute of the journey to get there!
The Chromolume show features scenic and sound design by James Esposito, lighting design by Lauren Wemischner, and the stage manager is Lauren Peters. Costume designer Kara McLeod takes the actors from their basic blacks through all the characters by adding in appropriate pieces from an apron, hat, vest, dress, evening gown, robe, gloves, mask and cape to quickly allow the actors to switch between their many characters. And cross-dressing never looked better!
THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS, THE MUSICAL! performances on Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 2pm (except 12/8, when curtain is at 7pm), and the run ends December 8. Tickets are $28, with discounts for students and seniors ($25) and children 12 and under ($23), and may be purchased online at www.crtheatre.com, or via telephone at 323-205-1617.
Chromolume Theatre at the Attic is located at 5429 W. Washington Boulevard (between the 10 freeway and Hauser Boulevard), in Los Angeles, 90016. Ample street parking is available. For more information, visit www.crtheatre.com or call 323-510-2688.
Production photos by James Esposito.
Parodying Sondheim in a New York apartment called "The Woods."
Eduardo Enrikez (the villain), Jason Peter Kennedy (the hero)
Eduardo Enrikez and Jason Peter Kennedy parody "Company"
Seducing the Emcee in "Cabaret" with Jason Peter Kennedy and Eduardo Enrikez