BWW Review: THE BOXED UP BINGE Delivered Laughs at Capital Stage
There is a new standard for musical theatre in town, and it has been set by composer David Taylor-Gomes. His original work was showcased in a one-night-only concert entitled, "The Boxed Up Binge", featuring songs and snippets from his larger project, Boxed Up the Musical.
Boxed Up the Musical was the brainchild of David and his husband, Wesley Gomes. It came about as a desire to bring musical theatre to their Warehouse Artist Loft's FiRSt Friday events. After bringing on co-producer Joelle Robertson and a team of writers, Boxed Up was turned into a series of short, sitcom-like episodes that were performed in succession once a month. Boxed Up aims to cater to the short attention span of people today while poking fun at our dependence on technology.
Boxed Up tells the story of Marion (Lizzy Poore), an endearing recluse who has found a way to feed her agoraphobia. Because of her smartphone, she never has to leave her house. Surviving off of deliveries, she invites the concern of her gregarious friend, Anthony (Ryan Allen). He implores her to leave her apartment in the upbeat, "Take it Outside." Meanwhile, he has enlisted the help of three divas to tell this story in their "Recap" songs. The trio of blonde, red-lipped young women dressed in black call to mind an image of the mythical Greek sirens who, instead of luring sailors to their death, are luring Marion outside with their peer pressure.
Suddenly, all of Marion's online shopping has paid off-a cute delivery guy, Jake (Ian Hopps), has come to drop off her packages. After being struck dumb in mutual admiration, they sing about their attraction in "Brand New Day." Although Jake gives Marion his number, Marion is paralyzed with fear and can't contact him. Anthony comes to the rescue and composes a text to him while Marion's self-absorbed sister, Addison, grabs the phone and sets up a date. Anthony and the divas get to work trying to make Marion sexy in "Get You Ready."
Hilarity ensues as Marion and Jake bond over obscure trivia (raccoon saliva causes canine paralysis), Addison and her fiancée butt heads over wedding planning, the resident drag queen (with a Joel Grey as Emcee flair) plans a rooftop party, and Anthony reunites with his new love, Tucker the trucker.
Lizzy Poore makes the perfect Marion. She is vulnerable, yet sarcastic; timid, yet a whirlwind when she has finally had enough. The entire audience was rooting for her to finally go outside and experience life, but sympathetic when it didn't go quite as planned.
Ryan Allen graced us all as the apartments' reigning diva with his smooth vocals and hilarious portrayal of the stereotypical gay best friend.
Ian Hopps, who can currently be seen at Capital Stage in Luna Gale, was wonderfully sensitive and lovably naive as the cute delivery guy. He is obviously a seasoned actor, as he did not play Jake in the original episodes, but took to the part like he had been doing it forever.
Although the entire cast is comprised of mind-boggling talent, it is the music of David Taylor-Gomes that truly stands out. Complex harmonies blended with laugh-out-loud lyrics make for a very quick two and a half hours. It was a combination of modern musical theatre with some jazzy components. I thought I heard some influences of Earth, Wind, and Fire coupled with contemporary elements. His writing is such that a small 6-piece gives the illusion of a full orchestra. It was a pleasure and privilege to be one of the first to witness this musical in its entirety.
You can obtain more information on Boxed Up the Musical by visiting boxedupmusical.com.
Photo credit: Doug Cupid, with graphic design by Scout Robin Hushbeck