BWW Review: STAGES St. Louis' Wonderfully Funny IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU
STAGES St. Louis celebrates their 30th year with a very funny musical that deserved a much better fate that the short run it had on Broadway, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU. A play on words of sorts on the old standard "It Had to be You", this work is difficult to describe simply because there are so many farcical twists and turns that revealing any would spoil the experience. What I can tell you is how terrific this production is. It features a top notch cast that all seem to be having a great time, and why not? It's filled with clever lines and a fine score (music by Barbara Anselmi, book by Brian Hargrove and lyrics by Hargrove, Jill Abramovitz, Michael Cooper, Carla Rose Fisher, Ernie Lijoi, and Will Randall) that's catchy and really fits the show well. I will provide a brief synopsis, but suffice to say, this might be considered the Murphy's Law of shows that feature a wedding. But, you can't go wrong by taking in this superbly rendered presentation, and I heartily recommend that you see it!
OK, not comes the tough part. How do you give people an idea of the plot without ruining the experience? I'll just be succinct. Rebecca Steinberg and Brian Howard are getting married at the St. George Hotel. Only, there are a myriad of complications that arise before the nuptials can take place. First off, Rebecca's parents, Judy and Murray are not enthused about the occasion, nor is Jenny's sister, who happens to let the news slip out of the marriage to Rebecca's ex, Marty, Then, well, the plot is so convoluted (in a good way) that it would take a page just to explain everything, and then there would be nothing for you to discover. So, I'll stop right there before I spoil things any further.
Stacie Bono makes for a lovely bride to be as Rebecca and she plays well off her sister Jenny, nicely essayed by Claire Manship, who provides a sense of her own self worth with the song "Beautiful." Rebecca's parents are an overbearing riot with Zoe Vonder Haar and Michael Marotta delivering excellent portrayals of Judy and Murray. Jeff Sears does sharp work as Brian, while dealing with his own issues, not the least of which are his own parents, the conservative Christians George and Georgette (I know, even their names are amusing). David Schmittou and Kari Ely, respectively, are very good, with George trying to talk his son into getting Rebecca to sign off on a pre-nuptial agreement, while Georgette tries to restrain herself from ripping into the ever-annoying Judy.
Erik Keiser is strong as the best man, Greg, and Jessie Hooker is also quite good as Annie. There's more going on with that pair and the bridge and groom, but I'm not about to reveal anything else. Edward Juvier is hysterical as the beleaguered wedding planner Albert, who's seen just about everything go wrong at various weddings he's worked, and still managed to pull them off successfully. John Flack also makes an impression as the ever inebriated Uncle Morty, and so does Morgan Amiel Faulkner as the flirtatious and eavesdropping Aunt Sheila. Steven Isom and Michelle Burdette Elmore neatly round out the cast as Walt and Mimsy.
The show is directed and choreographed by Stephen Bourneuf, and he does a marvelous job coordinating all the action that takes place. Lisa Campbell Albert's musical direction is first-rate, as always, and works well in tandem with Stuart Elmore's orchestral design. James Wolk provides the splendidly upscale scenic design, and Sean Savoie lights it all with aplomb. Garth Dunbar's costumes are lovely to look at, and good character fits as well.
While I might not have revealed much about the plot, suffice to say you will be surprised by all the goings-on that happen, and that's reason enough to see it for yourself. Once again, I highly recommend this show! It continues through July 3, 2016 at the Robert G. Reim Auditorium, and it kicks off STAGES' 30th season with a bang.