With great risks come even greater rewards. That is the mantra of live theatre performers...and to an even more amplified extent, those who attempt to pioneer with new music and new scripts.
City Theatre is important to Wilmington's creative growth. It is stratospherically more edgy than any other performing arts group. So being, it attracts - and retains - an engaging crew of actors dedicated to their craft. To these artistic soldiers, their march is set to the unfamiliar and the offbeat. Why perform THE FANTASTICKS when you can do BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL?
Or better yet, a World Premiere of a musical by two locals ON THE AIR, playing the last two nights this weekend.
The producers made it evident this was a work shop. Playwright Kevin Regan and Composer/Lyricist Joe Trainor desired audience feedback. As a playwright of a few Broadway style musicals myself, here's my take:
- The music was arthymic to the era. Not that the eight original tunes were bad....just the opposite. The melodies were lush; the lyrics flowed. Pre WWII 1941 simply did not have that type of sound. (Think Big Band with Benny Goodman). I would suggest a new setting, early Vietnam era. Aisle Say thought he picked up a sample of Creedence Clearwater's "Fortunate Son" in Trainor's "Across The River".
- I wrote a show GERSHWIN, by GEORGE: The 1936 Radio Show with two settings, one being in a radio studio. If the show remains in its present time period, there are several more amusing and creative special effects that a period radio show employed. (Adam Wahlberg was terrific as the SFX guy).
- There were two talky talky patter songs in a row. They were cool; just space them.
- Why must Mr. Titus be on stage all the time looking like he was busy.
- Lose the Jack Daniels bottle on the table. We get the message with the two too many unwindings of the flask
- Aisle Say was sitting in the back at BAT BOY. With the configuration of the black box arena, sight lines are problematic. Director Michael Gray (the foremost perpetual scowler within city limits) attempted to remedy this by a series of chairs on which the actors would stand. At best this is head scratching, at worst distracting. I would suggest construction of a pyramidal structure with 3 levels on either side. This will create levels and be set for good.
- A great cast of wonderful actors in perfectly chosen period costumes. Huzzahs to Jim Burns, Dylan Geringer, Michael Gray, Kerry Kristine McElrone (going redhead), Paul McElwee, Wahlberg, Matt Casarino, Jill Knapp (with the perfect deep, soft and sloping waves!) and James Kassees.
City-Theater.org 8 pm curtain Friday and Saturday. OperaDE studios at Riverfront. Get directions!