Review: UNMASKED: THE MUSIC OF ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER at Paper Mill Playhouse - An Exquisite Celebration of the Composer and his Music
"My real love is the theatre, and I always come back to it."
by Andrew Lloyd Webber in Unmasked
Paper Mill Playhouse is now presenting the stunning world-premiere of Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Co-written by Richard Curtis, directed and choreographed by JoAnn M. Hunter, with musical direction by Sam Davis, it showcases the brilliant music of Andrew Lloyd Webber and has a talented cast. The production also features fascinating, sometimes humorous video clips of Webber who charms with insights about his compositions.
Andrew Lloyd Weber is one of the most accomplished and versatile composers on the musical theatre scene. His shows have included such greats as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, Sunset Boulevard, and School of Rock. Songs from all of these and more makes Unmasked shine bright on the Millburn stage. Between the show's musical numbers, Webber appears on a huge projection screen talking about his musical processes, inspirations, collaborations, opportunities, big Broadway hits, and even a few of the misses. The video clips are clever, honest, and full of information that Unmasked audiences will love.
Paper Mill Playhouse has assembled an outstanding company. Audiences are introduced to them in the first number, a medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber tunes. The cast has some of Broadway's best performers including Nicholas Edwards; Alex Finke; Alyssa Giannetti; Jeremy Landon Hays; Kara Haller; Amy Justman; Andrew Kober; Angel Lozada; Mauricio Martinez; Bronson Norris Murphy; Mamie Parris; Dave Schoonover; and Rema Webb.
You will be thrilled by the presentation of over three-dozen songs that include spirited tunes with energetic choreographies, moving melodies, and sincere love songs. Musical numbers include "Any Dream Will Do" from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat performed by Bronson Norris and Company; "Gethsemane" from Jesus Christ Superstar performed by Mauricio Martinez; "Buenos Aires" from Evita by Mamie Parris; "Love Never Dies" from Love Never Dies by Alyssa Giannetti; "The Rum Tum Tugger" from Cats by Mauricio Martinez, Jeremy Landon & Ladies; "With One Look" from Sunset Boulevard by Rema Webb; "Pie Jesu" from Requium by Alex Finke and Company; "All I Ask of You" from Phantom of the Opera by Alyssa Giannetti and Jeremy Landon; "The Music of the Night" from Phantom of the Opera by Bronson Norris Murphy; and "Stick It to the Man" from School of Rock by Andrew Kober and Company.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's narrative takes the understanding of his works to the next level. Who knew? Webber enjoyed T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" since childhood. He wrote a special song for the 1992 Summer Barcelona Olympics, "Amigo Para Siempre." Phantom of the Opera had absolutely no changes or tweeks from the preview performances to opening night. And Love Never Dies had a great reception in Australia.
The production team has done a great job of bringing Unmasked to the stage. They include scenic and costume design by Alexander Dodge; lighting design by Ed McCarthy; sound design by Jon Weston; hair and wig design by Tom Watson; and music supervision by David Andrew Wilson. The Production Stage Manager is Frank Lombardi. Max Quinlan serves as associate director and Liz Ramos serves as associate choreographer. Casting is by Tara Rubin Casting.
We commend Producing Artistic Director, Mark S. Hoebee and Managing Director, Michael Stotts for giving metro area audiences an opportunity to experience Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber. Gather your group and enjoy!
Unmasked: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber will continue performances through Sunday evening, March 1, 2020 at Paper Mill Playhouse (22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ). For ticketing and more information, please visit https://papermill.org/ or call 973.376.4343.