BWW Review: GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! at Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre
Gutenberg. Without Johannes Gutenberg and his invention of the printing press, life would be very different in our world. We wouldn't have widely distributed books. Most of us wouldn't know how to read or write. And, tragically, we wouldn't have this wildly ridiculous, often inappropriate and hilarious show, GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! being produced by Tarrant Actors Regional Theatre.
The farce, brought to you in the form of a faux staged reading put on by the authors of the musical in an attempt to be picked up by a Broadway producer, is complete and beautiful nonsense. As the characters tell the audience during the prologue, this show is a work of "historical fiction." In other words, don't come hoping to see a biographical musical interpretation of Gutenberg's life: facts are not a part of the plot here! Instead, the authors bring you their interpretation of Gutenberg's life as it "could" have been...if there was no such thing as history or reality. And it is funny. Hysterically funny.
If you want to see the two hardest working actors in the Fort Worth area, you need to look no further than Jason Solis and Joshua Sherman. They play the authors of GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL!, Bud Davenport and Doug Simon - as well as every character in the show within a show. This pair is on fire from the moment they hit the stage and do not stop until the curtain call. But, it isn't just that they have the enthusiasm of a thousand energy drinks; they are truly talented, as well. Their acting and vocal ranges are put to the test as they embody the cast of their show (both male and female), and they are distinctly up to that challenge. There was honestly not a single moment that they were just going through the motions, even though they were performing for a Mother's Day audience of six people.
It is clear that there is a lot of talent behind the scenes, as well. Director Alex Krus created a natural, fast-moving, seamless setting for such an over-the-top affair. In addition, Choreographer Brittany Jenkins did an impeccable job of matching the movement to the high-energy, tongue-in-cheek action, while giving a few nods to some famous Broadway choreography. Lastly, but not at all least, Bryce Biffle not only music directs, but is in the show, mostly in the background with a few cameo parts ala TITLE OF SHOW. Credit must also be given to the spot-on lighting design by Bryan S. Douglas.
If you are looking for a non-stop, belly-aching, pitch-perfect show, look no further than GUTENBERG! THE MUSICAL! It is running at Fort Worth Community Arts Center until May 28th, 2017. For ticket information, go to www.TheTART.org or call 682-231-0082.