Classical theater is flush with the self-indulgent notion of a “play in a play”—”Hamlet,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and “The King and I,” to name a several. In the modern-day era, this system is revitalized by the emergence of “musicals within just musicals”—”Something Rotten!,” “Cabaret,” “Moulin Rouge,” and even “The Producers.” In “[title of show],” author Hunter Bell and composer Jeff Bowen get this a move further more and complete the ultimate meta-musical—a exhibit about creating and carrying out the demonstrate in which they are doing. Dominion Stage’s production of “[title of show]” tactfully maneuvers its way via this plan, immersing the audience in the self-recognition of the crafting.
…a fantastic effectiveness that experienced the audience laughing, clapping, hooting, and hollering…
“[title of show]” delivers the two romanticism and pragmatism to the method of crafting a musical. In 2004, Bell and Bowen identified the New York Musical Theatre Festival and resolved to compose an authentic musical in the 3 months before the deadline. Their idea was to produce a present about the method of them writing the display. Flowing through thirteen scenes, damaged up by seven answering machine messages and 17 (and a half) original songs, the display is delightfully straightforward in its criticism and celebration of by itself, the market, and theater in standard.
We all know a pair of buddies like Hunter and Jeff, performed by Gary DiNardo and Chad Rabago . The duo have an virtually sitcom-like chemistry, performing as two sides of the very same coin. DiNardo burst off the stage (from time to time virtually when inquiring viewers customers to hold props, each genuine and pantomimed), his effervescent vitality circulating during the space and inciting raucous laughter from the viewers. He effortlessly shifted among playful sarcasm in “Two Nobodies in New York” and personifying a ribald blank sheet of paper (nearly reminiscent of an incredibly blue, Microsoft Clippy) in “An Primary Musical.” DiNardo’s flexibility was shown prominently all through the generation.
Performing opposite DiNardo’s ball of energy was Ribago as the refreshingly reserved and amount-headed Jeff. With unassuming facial expressions and a boyish appeal, Ribago’s existence grounded the manufacturing in reality and imbued the character with relatability. From birdwatching in the park to performing as the grammar police, Ribago’s never-ending wit and charisma (reminiscent of John Cariani of “Something Rotten!”) pervaded the present with a laudable, smooth subtlety. With each other, the duo’s power was well balanced and dynamic, allowing the viewers to observe them by the joyous exhilaration of achievement and the venomous discord that can occur with any artistic procedure.
Rounding out the 4-individual cast were being Rebecca Cooley as Heidi, the archetypal upcoming actress, and Susan, the jaded corporate cog, played by Danielle Comer. Cooley exuded longing and self-confidence as her siren-like voice floated more than the crowd in “Monkeys and Playbills.” Cooley oozed perseverance as she bustled across the stage, tossing her hair, and sassed Ribago in music rehearsals, supplying correct depth of character to what could or else be a standard ingenue. Contrasting this youthful hope was Comer’s wistful exhaustion. Her range, the two in her emotions and facial expressions, in “Die Vampire Die!” lent genuine comedy to the semi-spoken word piece, letting her voice soar through heartfelt, rock-and-roll moments. With each other, the couple’s transition from hesitant, woman co-staff to best good friends (like Samwise and Frodo, they point out), is invigorating to view (not to point out, the display passes the Bechdel Exam).
I just can’t finish chatting about the solid with out celebrating the top secret, fifth forged member—Matthew Dohm, the show’s new music director, as Larry the pianist. Constant with the show’s propensity for breaking the fourth wall, Dohm’s deadpan demeanor (with just a trace of a sly smirk) as an accompanist taking part in the accompanist solidified that this cast definitely enjoys a person another’s enterprise.
The present is self-conscious in its technological simplicity—four solid users, 4 chairs, one costume through the clearly show. As a result of intelligent utilization of their craft, the specialized crew elevated the show via modest nevertheless impactful choices. The set comprised of four chairs, two rolling, that extra movement to a present that could have easily been stagnant. A aspect-stage conclusion table was embellished with residing place adornments and was spotlit by the lights crew, offering the crew time to take out props from the stage and simply changeover between scenes. The lighting designers, Ken and Patti Crowley, immersed the audience in the strength of the scenes, regardless of whether they were being making digicam-flash lighting consequences or saturating the stage in an offended, deep red. The costumes by Kit Sibley and Jean Schlichting and hair and make-up by Rebecca Harris were being thoroughly decided on, complimenting and accentuating just about every character’s personality—corporate Susan in her work-correct, floral blouse with a blunt bob versus actress Heidi in a flouncy, purple shirt and “Mamma Mia!” style curls. The team of director Kevin Sockwell and music director Matthew Dohm yielded a brilliant performance that experienced the audience laughing, clapping, hooting, and hollering at all the suitable times.
Dominion Stage’s manufacturing of “[title of show]” encapsulates the human artistic experience—desire, self-criticism, procrastination, inventive clashes, and accomplishment, no make a difference how you determine it. As we shift into the put up-modern day period, I’m guaranteed there will be musicals about earning musicals about building musicals about… very well, you get the position. Dominion Stage’s output exemplifies what it implies to dwell in the minute and to see one thing by means of to the stop, although loving, or at least tolerating, the approach along the way.
Working Time: Approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Advisory: Grownup language.
“[title of show]” runs Thursdays to Saturdays via May possibly 21, 2022, presented by Dominion Stage doing at Theatre on the Run, 3700 South Four Mile Run Drive, Arlington, VA 22206. Buy tickets on the web or at the door.