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BWW Review: THE EVOLUTION OF (HENRY) MANN by American Theatre Group in Basking Ridge Charms



BWW Review:  THE EVOLUTION OF (HENRY) MANN by American Theatre Group in Basking Ridge Charms

"Like they say, timing is everything." By Christine in The Evolution of (Henry) Mann

American Theatre Group (ATG) is now presenting their season opener, The Evolution of (Henry) Mann. This new, modern musical is sure to be a crowd pleaser with its clever theme, a memorable score, and a multi-talented cast. The show is directed and choreographed by Jason Aguirre with musical direction by Emily Cohn. It is being performed in ATG's new home, the Fellowship Cultural Arts Center, a state-of-the-art theatre in Basking Ridge. The company's Producing Artistic Director, Jim Vagias made his opening address to the audience saying "Isn't it great to be back seeing live theatre?" We agree, it certainly is!

The Evolution of (Henry) Mann is based on Dan Elish's novel, Nine Wives, which he wrote about his exhilarating, sometimes frustrating, and funny experiences dating as a young, single man in New York City. Elish wrote the book and lyrics for the show and Douglas J. Cohen composed the music and also wrote the lyrics.

BWW Review:  THE EVOLUTION OF (HENRY) MANN by American Theatre Group in Basking Ridge Charms

The musical presentation tells the story of Henry Mann, a single thirty-something. He has attended twelve weddings in twelve months and is invited to another by his former girlfriend of five years, Sheila. In hopes of finding his own soul mate, Henry hits the dating scene. Throughout his quest, Henry gets a great deal of support from his friend and roommate, Gwen, who is trying to cope with being separated from her wife. With humor and heart, this relatable story depicts the trials of dating and relationships.

The three-person cast brings The Evolution of (Henry) Mann to life with their fine singing and acting talents. They include Ryan Gregory Thurman as Henry Mann; Shani Hadjian as Gwen, Mrs. Mann and others; and Bebe Browning as Sheila, Tamar, Christine and others. Hadjian and Browning deftly assume multiple parts that successfully rounds out the story. You may be surprised that this is only a three-person cast with the skillful character changes.

BWW Review:  THE EVOLUTION OF (HENRY) MANN by American Theatre Group in Basking Ridge Charms

The production's score is an ideal fit for the story. The band includes Conductor Emily Cohn on piano, Katie Chambers on Cello, and Meghan Doyle on guitar. Among the memorable songs are "She's My Wife" by Henry and Tamar; "Settling Down" by Henry Sheila, and Gwen; "It's only a First Date" by Christine; "What's the Matter with Henry?" by Gwen, Mrs. Mann, Henry, Tamar, and Christine; and "The Unromantic Things" by Gwen and Henry.

The Creative Team has done a top job of bringing the show to the Basking Ridge Stage. They include set design by Teresa L. Williams; sound design by Jimmy Warren; costume design by Saawan Tiwari; lighting design by Douglas Macur; and props design by Alexis Krayniak. The Production Stage Manager is Danielle Constance.

Performances of The Evolution of (Henry) Mann will be presented on Friday and Saturday, Oct 22nd -23rd at 7:30pm and Sunday, October 24th at 2:30pm at the Fellowship Cultural Arts Center in Basking Ridge, NJ. Patrons are required to wear masks inside the theater and show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Ticket information and additional details can be found at:

If you can't make it to the show, ATG will offer a live stream option of its Saturday, October 23rd performance at 7:30pm EST. Streaming tickets are available for $25.00, inclusive of all fees, and can be purchased at: As a live stream event, patrons who purchase a streaming ticket will only be able to watch during the actual performance, beginning at 7:30pm EST on 10/23.

For more information on American Theatre Group, please visit:

Photo Credit: Lianne Schoenwiesner, Spotlights Photography

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