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BWW Review: THE MUSICAL OF MUSICALS (THE MUSICAL!) Now Playing in Olathe, Kansas

The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) continues at the Olathe Civic Theatre Association (OCTA) through March 1 at the theater located in Olathe, Kansas. Written by Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell the musical is a parody of five musical theater composers, all dealing with the same plot, "I can't pay the rent!"

Nino Casisi directs the campy, humorous OCTA production in the Buddy Rogers Theatre, with magnificent choreography by Jason Patrick Pollard and music direction by Tim Braselton. The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) opened off-Broadway in 2003 and again in 2005 at the Dodger Stages V, both with the same cast.

The play is broken into five plays within the play. Corn! opens the OCTA production, like all the others deals with June who cannot pay her rent, and looks to her boyfriend for help. Corn is set in the style of Rodgers & Hammerstein with musical parodies of Oklahoma, The King and I, and The Sound of Music among others. On a farm in Kansas in August, June cannot pay her rent and if she does not by 5 p.m., she will be forced to marry her landlord Jitter.

Based on the musicals of Stephen Sondheim, A Little Complex takes on the tunes of Into the Woods, Company, Sweeney Todd, and Sunday in the Park with George. After his artwork is thrown out of his New York apartment, Jitter plots to kill Jeune (a tenant obsessed with feeling birds are circling her head) and the other tenants of his building.

Dear Abby celebrates the work of Jerry Herman, paying close attention to Hello, Dolly! and Mame. Aunt Abby offers advice to anyone that will listen and the tenants in her Manhattan apartment building always do just that. Dancing and being adored by all the tenants on stage she manages to help Juney-Fae, her nephew William, and Jitters (still the landlord).

Act II begins with Aspects of Junita and the fabulous music of Andrew Lloyd Weber. What Weber homage would be complete without the deformed figure of The Phantom of the Opera? In this operetta, Jitter, as the phantom, puts Junita under a spell, promising to make her a star, or a Superstar, like Jesus Christ Superstar.

The music and works of John Kander and Fred Ebb fill the final play within a play, Speakeasy. If you notice a resemblance to Cabaret or Chicago, it is intentional. Juny cannot pay her rent, turns to her boyfriend Villy for help, only to find that his stint in jail has taken a toll on their relationship, and turned him gay.

Rachel Adcock and Charlotte Gilman superbly portray June and sorted variations thereof. Ruth Baum Bigus and Tracy Fox are wonderful in the roles of Abby. Jay Coombes as Jitter is hilarious as he transforms from cowboy landlord, to the masked phantom, and finally to the German cabaret owner. Joell Ramsdell stars as Willy, Billy, Villy, Bill, and William. His outrageous dancing in Corn! is worth the price of the ticket. Eli Biesemeyer completes the cast as the Ensemble Player.

The hilariously entertaining Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) continues at the OCTA Theater through March 1. Make reservations by calling the Reservations Hotline at 913-782-2990 or online at the OCTA website. Photo courtesy of Olathe Civic Theatre Association.

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From This Author Steve Wilson