BWW Review: THE UMPO BRIDESMAIDS Totally Sings You Up the Musical Aisle to Hilarity

BWW Review: THE UMPO BRIDESMAIDS Totally Sings You Up the Musical Aisle to Hilarity

THE UNAUTHORIZED MUSICAL PARODY OF BRIDESMAIDS/written by Kate Pazakis/directed by Marissa Jaret Winokur & Christopher Youngsman/musical direction by Gregory Nabours/Rockwell Table & Stage/thru September 17, 2017

With UMPO BRIDESMAIDS, executive producer Kate Pazakis continues her unbroken string of audience-pleasing musical parodies of pop culture flicks. Tony winner Marissa Jaret Winokur ably takes the directorial reins with Christopher Youngsman leading the triple-threat talents through a fast pace, high-energy, side-splitting experience of incredible vocals, comic gems and clever choreography.

BWW Review: THE UMPO BRIDESMAIDS Totally Sings You Up the Musical Aisle to HilarityThe genius conceit of UMPO engages Pazakis and her creative team in finding pop hits that fit in and advance the plot of a popular movie; in this case, the 2011 comedy Bridesmaids. Pazakis' witty dialogue receives snappy deliveries in between powerhouse vocal performances from all the vocally mega-talented cast of: Natalie Lander, Molly Stilliens, Aynsley Bubbico, Desi Dennis-Dylan, Ashley Argota, Nohely Quiroz, Michael Thomas Grant and Nathan Moore. As expected in a UMPO production, this tightly-knit group provides strong backup for the soloist when not having their respective moments in the spotlight to shine.

BRIDESMAIDS' basic plot: bride-to-be Lillian's girlfriends get together to throw her a string of bridal shower events. BRIDESMAIDS opens very cleverly with a welcoming speech from Pazakis, who after the not-so-customary pre-show instructions, invites all to sing along à la karaoke to "Sweet Caroline." And the show begins with the cast's BWW Review: THE UMPO BRIDESMAIDS Totally Sings You Up the Musical Aisle to Hilarityentrances whilst audience's eyes read the lyrics off the video screen! Stilliens wonderfully belts a chorus or two as bride Lillian, and soon after, in "Move Bitch." Stilliens even gets her chance to show off her flute virtuosity in "Bad Blood."

Lander totally embodies Annie, Lillian's maid of honor, the best friend from their classmate years. Annie's first song, Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," not only introduces the audience to Lander's strong vocal pipes, but also to the nicely reproduced "Single Ladies" choreography (Kudo's to choreographer Katherine Tokarz) after an intentional, comic misstepping from Annie. She credits "Single Ladies" to Whitney Houston, btw.

Bubbico nails her well-to-do Helen, Lillian's current best friend. Oozing attitude to the comic max, Bubbico sings "Say a Little Prayer," giving a BWW Review: THE UMPO BRIDESMAIDS Totally Sings You Up the Musical Aisle to Hilaritytotally new interpretation of this Dionne Warwick classic. Bubbico actually tops herself later in the second act performing "Skyscraper," adding her impeccable physical comic timing to her solid vocals.
Argota delightfully plays Becca, the giggly newlywed (married to her frequently-mentioned Kevin). Argota's stunning high vocals finally reveal themselves in the choruses of "Let It Go" from Frozen. Argota meets her vocal match dueting with Quiroz in Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl." Quiroz has such a hysterical way with her giant blow-up chapstick. Quiroz also deserves much credit for her spot-on fight choreography of "Fight Song," with sturdy vocals from Dennis-Dylan as Megan showing tough love to Lander's Annie. Props to sound designer David Evans for his synchronized LOUD sound effects for the landed punches on poor Annie.

BWW Review: THE UMPO BRIDESMAIDS Totally Sings You Up the Musical Aisle to HilarityThe only two guys in this cast provide many memorable moments in their multiple roles.

Grant as Ted, Annie's sex-hungry hook-up, brings the riotous sexy back as the two of them move through various sexual calisthenics positions to "Closer." Grant and Lander later duet most beautifully in "Grow Old With You." Grant's also very funny as the annoyed steward dealing with Annie's pharmaceutical-driven antics, most effective as the flamboyant high-end clothier salesclerk the bridesmaids visit, and scene-stealing as the Elmer Fudd-ish wedding official wearing a very high miter.

Moore plays Officer Rhodes, the traffic cop who stops Annie for her broken tail lights. Moore's nerdy dance moves serve as the ideal counterpoint to his powerful pipes in "True," his seduction song to Annie. When Moore's Rhodes sings "F*cking BWW Review: THE UMPO BRIDESMAIDS Totally Sings You Up the Musical Aisle to HilarityPerfect" to Annie after their first night together, it's f*cking perfect! The Beatles' "All You need is Love," leading off with the so romantic pair of Moore and Landers, then later joined by all the cast, will bring tears.
Moore also a hoot as an uptight, ramrod-stiff air marshal valiantly fending off the advances of Dennis-Dylan's' Megan.
As always, the smoking band at The Rockwell (led by musical director Gregory Nabours on piano; with Blake Estrada on bass, Emily Rosenfield on guitar and Greg Sadler on drums) provides muscular musical support, rocking big time!

This BRIDESMAIDS will make you want to go to more bridal showers. Well, only if the other shower participants were these wonderful cast members!
www.rockwell-la.com

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From This Author Gil Kaan

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