Sunday, December 10, 2006

What a "Musical!"

My freelance review:
Need a break from the holiday madness? Head to the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and enjoy some light-hearted fun with "The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!"

"Musical" is actually five very creative and very funny 15-minute musicals in one, each acting out the same story but in the style of a different famous Broadway composer -- Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kander & Ebb.

The laughs come in parodies to popular works by the composers. The homage to Rodgers & Hammerstein spoofs "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" with a corny song called "Corn" (with lines like "Just look at that corn!"). Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Evita" is "Janita." Jerry Herman's "Auntie Mame" is "Auntie Abby." And so forth. Corny is an appropriate adjective to describe the songs and the humor in general.

The more you know about the musicals being parodied, the more you'll easily enjoy "Musical." But, even if don't haven't seen a lot of the musicals, there's still plenty to enjoy.

The show uses the same four actors in each of the five mini-musicals. The cast is quite talented and this shows in the range of the performances, as the style of the actors shifts gears across each of the mini-musicals. Joanne Bogart has some of the funniest moments as the older of the two female cast members. She is also one of the original Broadway cast members and, along with Eric Rockwell, creator of the play.

The show moves along quickly, with three of the mini-musicals before intermission and two afterwards. It's a lot of fun and is just the ticket to help balance the stress of holiday season.

"The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!" plays through December 29 at the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

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