8 p.m. Friday-Saturday through June 12
Ghostlight Theatre Club
3110 N. Walker
$15 adults, $10 students and seniors
In what is unquestionably one of the best productions in 2010 so far, Ghostlight Theatre Club took a huge risk and wins big with a hilarious, heartfelt production of the brilliant, Tony-nominated "[title of show]."
"A musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical" the first version of "[title of show]" was written in three weeks to enter the first annual New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2004. After acceptance, the show became a postmodern work-in-progress with additional material added to chronicle its own further development, all the way through a successful off-Broadway run in 2006.
Not just a parody, "[title of show]" is a tribute to musical theater. It may start out lampooning the generic nature of many musicals in "Untitled Opening Number," but it takes some surprisingly clever and emotionally moving turns before it's all said and done, exploring the ups and downs of the creative process, the importance of friendship, what it takes to persevere, and the price you pay for success.
Scott Hynes was born to play the role of Jeff. Over the last two years, I've seen Hynes give great performances in several shows, but never so alive. His energy is off the charts, his charisma undeniable, and his comic timing impeccable " but he's never overbearing. He's appropriately fabulous, but never feels like a stereotype. His enthusiasm for the role and this musical shine through in everything thing he does onstage.
Turning in another amazing performance on the heels of a series of critically acclaimed performances, local actress Cristela Carrizales matches Hynes' energy and charm with added vulnerability and heart as Susan, a struggling actress who gets by on a well-paying corporate job she hates. Great throughout, Carrizales shines brightest as she leads the quartet during the rousing anthem "Die Vampire, Die," in which the many roadblocks to creativity are addressed.
No less great, but in the less showy role of Heidi, Ghostlight's managing director, Emily Etherton, has plenty of opportunities to showcase her great voice and brings some depth to the role of the successful actress looking to create something fresh and fun with her friends.
While not a very convincing homosexual, Christopher Robinson is good as Hunter, occasionally ascending to greatness, as with "An Original Musical," when he portrays a foul-mouthed anthropomorphic blank script with a distinctly urban attitude.
The quartet is accompanied by the excellent Steven Elkins Kennedy on piano, who also serves as the musical director.
The stripped-down production " four chairs and a piano " works in Ghostlight's favor, as its intimate theater space isn't compatible with the kind of complex set common in most traditional musicals.
As the first OKC theater to produce "[title of show]," director Lance Garrett and company will be a hard act to follow.
A Q-and-A with the cast and crew will follow Saturday's show. "Eric Webb
above Scott Hynes, Emily Etherton, Cristela Carrizales and Christopher Robinson star in "[title of show]."