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Monday, March 27, 2017

Review: Hilarious parody of Broadway’s great musicals at Women’s Theater Company

musical cast

The Women’s Theater Company is currently presenting Musical of Musicals (The Musical), written by Joanne Bogart (lyrics) and Eric Rockwell (music), The production is billed as “a hilarious satire of musical theatre.” Guess what? It is…hilarious, it is…a satire, it is…a parody of the classics of musical theatre. If these composers and their shows mean nothing to you----Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Kander and Ebb, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Jerry Herman, then you may fail to appreciate the clever, funny parody presented in The Musical of Musicals (The Musicals)

One of our best area directors (and choreographers) Lauren Moran Mills has produced a truly superior production of The Musical of Musicals (The Musicals)…truly the equal to the best of “Off-Broadway.” Where has this musical gem been hiding? (more later). The creators (and original NY cast members), Joanne Bogart and Eric Rockwell, tell the story of the young ingénue who is constantly repeating to her villainous, lecher of a landlord (aren’t they all?) the classic line of a struggling actress (aren’t they all) ‘I can’t pay the rent!’ The sad tale, always with a happy ending, is told five times via an oh so clever parody of the five composers.

In each, 15 to 20 minute, segment we have four characters, the aforementioned ingénue and landlord, plus the young leading man and the older woman. The cast is wonderful; the young actress is nicely played by the fine voiced, attractive newcomer Jenna Rose (Ravenda); the young man Billy, the hero of the piece, is another newcomer, Zachary Mazouat. He is perfect in this role of the imperfect, slightly bumbly, suitor who charms his way to victory (translation: He gets the girl).

Now we come to the two professionals in the cast: the landlord, played with considerable gusto, by another area favorite, Scott McGowan. Scott nails the dastardly villain in his own parody of the baddie from the melodrama The Damsel in Distress. Billed as the Matron, or older woman, is the exceptionally talented, Patricia Durante. Barbara Krajkowski, a certified NJ theater treasure, Artistic Director of the WTC, first introduced us to Patricia several seasons ago in Enchanted April. Since then she has earned ‘standing ovations’ on stages throughout the NY, NJ and PA region. We bestowed a New Jersey Footlights ‘Best Actress’ award for her Always, Patsy (Patsy Cline), also, produced by Barbara and the WTC. Her broad impersonations of Marlene Dietrich and Gloria Swanson are comedy gems. Both Scott and Patricia display great ability to perform with tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. Their obvious pleasure in these roles contributes immensely to the fun.

Now, what is a musical without music? The musical director and lone musician is Deborah Martin. Her piano performance deserves its own round of applause.

The unique fun, for many, in this play is the recognition of the shows and tunes that are being parodied. Thus, we will avoid the temptation to burden you with too much, pleasure robbing, detail. This is a wonderful way to spend two hours. Cast and crew have much to be proud of. Maybe, the best thing I can say to entice you to share in the enjoyment at the little theater in Parsippany, is to reveal that my wife has been on Facebook and the phone sharing her pleasure. Oh yes, you will love the bonus finale.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio Sunday March 26, 2017

musicalCredits: Cast: Patricia Durante, Scott McGowan, Jenna Rose, Zach Mazouat. Crew:  Producing Artistic Director Barbara Krajkowski, Director/Choreographer Lauren Moran Mills, Musical Director Deborah Martin, Stage Manager Regina Novicky Costumes Frances Harrison, and Props Erica Stepper.

 

 

Production history

The musical premiered off-Broadway on December 16, 2003 at the York Theatre at St. Mark's and ran through October 2, 2004, for a total of 194 performances and 14 previews. (It closed on January 25, 2004 and re-opened on May 24, 2004.) The production was directed and choreographed by Pamela Hunt and featured Joanne Bogart, Craig Fols, Lovette George, and Eric Rockwell. The production was nominated for the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical (George), Outstanding Director of a Musical (Hunt), and Outstanding Lyrics (Bogart) and Outstanding Music (Rockwell).

The musical re-opened off-Broadway on February 10, 2005 at the New World Stages V (Dodger Stages) and ran through November 13, 2005. The same director and cast were in the production.

The musical has been performed in regional theater in the United States, in Canberra (Australia - 2009 and Feb 2010), in Canada, and on London's West End. The London production ran from March 31, 2006 through April 22, 2006 at the Sound Theatre.

The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) runs until April 2- Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for seniors. To purchase tickets online please visit www.womenstheater.org or call 973 335 3038.

The Women’s Theater Company is located at the Parsippany Playhouse at 1130 Knoll Road, Lake Hiawatha, NJ. For GPS driving directions, please enter the town of Boonton, 07005.

ABOUT WOMEN’S THEATER COMPANY:

The Women’s Theater Company’s mission is to provide a fertile environment for the advancement of professional women theater artists and to provide quality theater for the community at large.  Through their main stage, educational outreach, and new works development programs, the Women’s Theater Company supports the development of new women artists, promotes new works in the American theater, and provides entertaining and enriching productions for growing audiences.  Women’s Theater Company is located at The Parsippany Playhouse, 1130 Knoll Road, Parsippany, NJ.  For more information contact 973 335 3038, or email info@womenstheater.org.

The Women’s Theater Company is proud to be a member of the New Jersey Theater Alliance. Funding for the Women’s Theater Company has been made possible in part by funds for the Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Art/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Women’s Theater is proud to be a member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce.

photo l-R: Patricia Durante* Zach Mazouat, Jenna Rose (Ravenda), and Scott McGowan* photo by Lauren Moran Mills

* Equity Member

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