At this point, countless musicals (some good, some not so good) have been written on just about every topic under the sun. But a musical about two people writing a musical? Now playwrights are just scraping the bottom of the barrel. Or so it would seem.
But contrary to what it sounds like, [title of show] is a hilarious, vastly entertaining self-referential comedy. The original ran on Broadway in 2008 with a four-person cast playing themselves. Now, the show gets new life as part of the Bridge Production Group's residence at the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Directed by Max Hunter, [title of show] stars Hunter alongside Josh Daniel, Jennifer Apple, and Keri René Fuller in a fun outdoor production that feels like an exclusive party of, by, and for theatre people.
Of course, you don't need to be a Broadway superfan to enjoy this endlessly inventive production; but audience-goers who are familiar with show business will get a lot more of the jokes, and anyone who's cherished Broadway dreams (either as an actor, writer, or producer) may find that the show resonates with them.
The whole thing starts when two down-on-their-luck creatives (played by Hunter and Daniel) decide to write a play for the New York Musical Theatre Festival. When ideas for a subject elude them, they reach a bold decision: they'll write a musical about the two of them trying to write a musical. Everything they say from now on will be included. Soon, they enlist the help of two more friends (Apple and Fuller). The four struggle to construct a musical from their conversations, battle demons of self-doubt ("Die, Vampires, Die" is a particularly fun number), and continue to revise and add-on as they journey toward their ultimate, barely hoped for goal: the bright lights of Broadway.
What the musical lacks in showstoppers it makes up for in humor, warmth, and pure ingenuity. It keeps pulling out new stops like a magician with an endless supply of rabbits--except that trick would quickly get old; [title of show] never does. In fact, immensely enjoying myself, I kept hoping it would drag on for another hour or two. No such luck, but truth be told, a tight 90 minutes is probably the perfect length for this meta musical.
In one of my favorite scenes, a blank sheet of paper (Daniel in a brief but uproariously funny performance) sings about what it takes to make a Broadway musical. When Jeff, the would-be composer of the musical in question, tells him that they plan to have a four-person cast with no big names, the paper is shocked. But even worse is the revelation that they'll have a single keyboard player in place of a big orchestra. Nevertheless, armed with a set of four chairs and an orchestra of one keyboard player, [title of show] proves that a successful musical doesn't need spectacle and scene changes--just good writing and a great cast.
[title of show] runs August 13-22 at Brooklyn Navy Yards. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit: