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Chromolume Zealously Stages The Musical of Musicals, The Musical! at Attic Theatre

The Musical of Musicals, the Musical!/music by Eric Rockwell/lyrics by JoAnne Bogart/book by Eric Rockwell & JoAnne Bogart/directed by Kristin Towers-Rowles/choreographed by Samantha Whidby/musical director: Richard Berent/Chromolume Theatre at the Attic Theatre/through December 8

If you love the irreverance of Forbidden Broadway with its pokes and jabs at Broadway musical shows, you will adore the ultra satirical The Musical of Musicals, The Musical! With book, music and lyrics by Eric Rockwell and JoAnne Bogart, the show takes hold of a theme "I can't pay the rent!", puts it into five distinctly different scenarios each with four characters and each composed by a prolific Broadway composer or team of prolific composers: Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and John Kander & Fred Ebb. Now onstage at the Attic Theatre, Chromolume Theatre is presenting a splendidly staged rendition of the parody with four dynamically talented actors/singers/dancers through December 8.

Directed by multi-talented Kristin Towers-Rowles, with slick choreography from Samantha Whidby and uber skilled accompaniment by musical director Richard Berent, the show's opening, with the four actors center stage, sings out the theme and then wham! it dives headon into the first scenario Corn in the style of Rodgers & Hammerstein, a take-off on Oklahoma! with characters Curly, Laurie, Judd and Aunt Eller renamed Big Willy (Jason Peter Kennedy), June (Jean Altadel), Jidder (Eduardo Enrikez) and Mother Abby (Christina Morrell), who sings "Follow Your Dream" to Laurie satirizing "Climb Every Mountain". June can't pay the rent and she's torn between the affections of Big Willy and Jidder. Lines come flying at us like "Don't throw OKs at Me!" and just about every R&H show is parodied including Carousel, The Sound of Music and The King and I. The second scenario is A Little Complex in the style of Stephen Sondheim, mostly parodying Sweeney Todd with a great song "We're All Gonna Die" sung by Morrell as Abby. The third scenario is Dear Abby in the style of Jerry Herman, with a great big belting number "Did I Put Out Enough?" copying "If He Walked Into My Life" from Mame. Act II gives us Aspects of Junita, a takeoff on Evita with "I've Heard That Song Before" and "Over the Top" perfectly describing the broad musical antics of Lloyd Webber. The last scenario Speakeasy a la Kander & Ebb gives us among others "Juny with a J" parodying "Liza with a Z" and "Color Me Gay", "My Coloring Book".

Each character retains his name with a slight variation throughout all five scenes and each sketch has its unique take on June/Jeune/Junie/Junita/Juny not being able to come up with the month's rent and Jidder/Jitter/Mr. Jitters/Phantom Jitter/Jutter playing the overbearingly conniving scumbag landlord. What makes the show so clever is that Rockewell and Bogart have unbelievably captured to the letter the style of each composer, stretching lyrics and lines to the max for full audience enjoyment.

The cast is oh so great. Morrell as Abby is a dynamic singer/actress who was born to take center stage playing the hell out of Mame or any other overexaggerated diva. She's glorious! Enrikez is a treat as Jitter and really knocks the gay-themed characters out of the park especially his big splashy red dress Hello Dolly! number in the Herman segment and his sensual Master of Ceremonies in the Kander & Ebb. He goes all the way with each character, a perfect example of what this show is supposed to be "Overdone". Altadel is joyful particularly as Junita, as is Kennedy who steals the last scene as Villy coming out in "Color Me Gay".

Berent as musical director has a chance to have fun in between scenarios pounding the piano keys and enhancing selected tunes with exhausting variations. Whidby provides some dynamite dance moves throughout, tearing the roof off the Speakeasy or Cabaret segment and...what can I say... Towers-Rowles is a dream director. There is nothing that this ingenious gal cannot do ... exceedingly well. She is a born entertainer.

Go see The Musical of Musicals, The Musical. whether or not you are a theatre buff. Fans will eat it up and those that are not will still find big-time enjoyment in the characters and their comic bits.

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From This Author Don Grigware