Wednesday, May 20, 2009

review - a world premiere musical

l to r (clockwise): Zane Gerson, Jessica Gisin, Michael J. Willett, Stephanie Burkett Gerson.

The Green Room
the world premiere musical

music by Chuck Pelletier; book & lyrics by C. Stephen Foster & Rod Damer
directed by Stephanie A. Coltrin
Hermosa Beach Playhouse
through May 31

a special event of the 2009 Festival of New American Musicals

The Green Room boasts a uniquely appealing musical score by Chuck Pelletier and a fast-paced, optimistic story about collegiate youth. In the worst of times, what could be more inspirational? Young people who want to devote themselves fully to the arts, sticking it out together.

This Green Room cast is just terrific. It's an example of ensemble playing at its best where everyone comes up a star. Zane Gerson (John), Stephanie Burkett Gerson (Anna), Michael J. Willett (Cliff) and Jessica Gisin (Divonne) move, move, move to Stepahine A. Coltrin's consistently upbeat direction. Problems of dating, sex and marriage are explored as well as the urgency of career choices. Do you stick to an unpredictable show business career - what you love the most, or give in to the money and security of an everyday job that is dismal and boring? I am always in favor of the risk takers in life!!

The Act I finale needs a more dramatic finish. Now, there is an abrupt blackout following the music. John's decision to leave is a gigantic one - it would divide the group forever. Maybe just a few lines after the song "In the End" would intensify that moment. "You can't do this to us!" "John, think more about what you're doing!" or the like lends more urgency. Increased drama would also add greater contrast to the finale of Act II with its proper sense of quiet resolution.

Apart from this, there are very few flaws, as the show entertainingly plays out to a happy conclusion. Any teenage angst and insecurity apparent during freshman year of college have changed to a more mature stance by graduation, as the friends calmly and purposefully are "Waiting in the Wings".

"It's All About Me", "Destination Stage Left" "I Wanna Go To Extreme" and "Nothing Can Stop My Boys" are just 4 of the tuneful songs that will stay with you for many years to come. From what other new contemporary musical are you likely to even remember one tune? To some, the unity of the friends may seem unrealistic. But, this is a musical adventure, where we must be allowed to dream. To my mind, it's divonnely refreshing!!

Great stuff!
5 out of 5 stars

to purchase the CD, go to www.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home