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Big Fun With Four Chairs And A Keyboard: [title of show] Opens At LALT

on November 4, 2017 - 8:18am
From left, Susan (Holly Robinson), Heidi (Joy Reynolds), Jeff (Patrick MacDonald) and Hunter (Stuart Rupprecht) perform a musical number. Photo by Larry Gibbons
 
By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Post

The musical comedy [title of show], not a typo, (music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen, book by Hunter Bell) tells the story of its own creation as an entry in the New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2004 up to its Broadway opening in 2008.

Collaborators, writer Hunter (Stuart Rupprecht) and composer and lyricist Jeff (Patrick MacDonald), recruit two actress friends, Heidi (Joy Reynolds) and Susan (Holly Robinson), as supporting cast. Add to the mix, onstage keyboardist Larry (the show’s musical director Brian Huysman), plus four chairs, and we have the cast and set of the show.

Catchy songs and laugh-out-loud dialogue certainly contribute to the fun that is [title of show], but the real secret of its appeal is in the characters. Originally played by the actual Hunter, Jeff, Heidi and Susan, the players were the parts. The cast of LALT’s production deftly capture the theatre obsessed, quirky, irreverent folks who created this play.  

These actors playing actors playing actors are uniformly excellent. Rupprecht and MacDonald have the chemistry of two friends from childhood who share a common dream of seeing their show on Broadway. Reynolds has a beautiful voice and brings a self-possession combined with insecurity to the role of Heidi. Robinson is likewise great as the wise-cracking Susan.

There are a lot of obscure theatre references that most of the audience won’t understand. It doesn’t matter. What is clear is that it matters to the characters. Hunter and Jeff are gay men, but this fact is simply part of what goes into making them who they are. These characters, probably because the creators were these characters, are fully realized human beings, complete with flaws, silliness and dirty jokes.

The dialogue magically captures everyday conversation without being dull. The sprightly musical numbers do likewise. Personal favorite numbers were “Die, Vampire, Die!” and “Nine People’s Favorite Thing”.

Director Tim Orcutt keeps things tight and fast-paced. A shout-out goes to Ken Milder for his lighting. Brian Huysman has done a great job with the actors, achieving the four-part harmony that makes up so much of the show—and he backs up the whole shebang on keyboards as well. Wow.

[title of show] show is light entertainment and not afraid to laugh at itself. It’s stalwartly unpretentious. This is an excellent production of a fun little musical.

[title of show] runs through Nov. 19 with performances at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. each Sunday. Tickets are $14, $12 for seniors and students, and available at CB FOX or a half hour before curtain at the Performing Art Center on Nectar Street in Los Alamos. This show is for mature audiences. If you are offended by sexual references or strong language, stay home.


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