BWW Reviews: THE TROUBLE WITH WORDS Continues to Astound Audiences at the Lost Studio Through April 12

THE TROUBLE WITH WORDS is a song cycle that explores the relationship people have with words, as well as with each other, as they struggle to connect. In examining how human beings are brought together and pulled apart by words, the songs range from devastating to laugh-out-loud funny. Prior to winning its Ovation Award in 2011 for Original Music and Lyrics, The Trouble With Words had been named Best Musical at the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

And I can certainly see why! This has to be one of the best musical reviews I have ever seen, due to the fabulously talented cast, expert direction and choreography, and the amazing 6-piece orchestra led by Gregory Nabours with Brian Morales, Brian Cannady, David Lee, Taylor Harb, and Darryl Black. Rock music never sounded so good!

The cast of The Trouble With Words features (in alphabetical order) Julianne Donelle, Aimee Karlin, Jamie Mills, Chris Roque, Ryan Wagner, and Robert Wallace. Each is a triple-threat, demonstrated in each song but especially in the Latin-flavored Act 1 finale "Sextet/Don't Try To Go." The expert and clean choreography, not to mention the wonderful harmonies and music, thrilled all my senses. These are actors who love to sing and dance and do it all with precision. It was an exuberant celebration of life and love that never dies.

There is so much to rave about with 18 marvelous numbers in settings from the subway to a balcony, street corner to a bar. "Gotta Get Laid" is certainly one of the most entertaining pieces of theater I have ever seen with the men moaning their lack of what they need while the women tease and strut their stuff.

And if you have ever been in the situation of not getting along with the wife of your husband's best friend, you will certainly sympathize with the two women stuck at a "Complimentary Brunch" which turns out to be nothing of the sort. "The Haircut" is a fun duet about how to talk to a woman without upsetting her unintentionally. Many individual numbers were standouts including "The Kid With a Heart On," "Here We Go Again," and the Manhattan Transfer flavored "Tongue-Tied."

I strongly encourage every musical theatre aficionado in Los Angeles to see this show as I cannot offer enough praise for the entire production.

The only improvement I would appreciate being made would be to the sound level balance between orchestra and singers so the lyrics do not get lost in the exuberance of the music. Then again, perhaps that was the point since the trouble with words is that they are often not heard the way they were meant to be spoken.

THE TROUBLE WITH WORDS with music and lyrics by Gregory Nabours, choreography by Janet Roston, and directed by Patrick Pearson is being presented by Coeurage Theatre Company through Friday, April 12 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 7pm at The Lost Studio on S. La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles 90038. All seats are available on a Pay What You Want basis, and may be reserved online at, or by calling (323) 944-2165.

Production photos by Kevin McShane may be seen at

Production photos below by Laura Crow.

The Cast - L to R: Ryan Wagner, Jamie Mills, Julianne Donelle, Christopher Roque, Aimee Karlin, Robert Wallace.

"All That's In Between" - L to R: Julianne Donelle, Jamie Mills, Aimee Karlin, Robert Wallace, Christopher Roque. Back to camera: Composer/Conductor Gregory Nabours.

"Gotta Get Laid" - L to R: Robert Wallace, Christopher Roque, Ryan Wagner.

"Pick Up Lines" - L to R: Christopher Roque, Jamie Mills, Robert Wallace, Julianne Donelle.

Aimee Karlin tries to order in "Complimentary Brunch."

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From This Author Shari Barrett

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