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‘[title of show]’ // Broadway HD

‘[title of show]’ was organic.

Sometimes a show doesn’t need a big meaningful underlying message. ‘[title of show]’ is very self-aware and simple; a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical (also very likely about two guys writing a musical).

The one-act musical first premiered in NYC in 2004, and found its way onto off-Broadway at the Vineyard Theatre in 2006. It has had numerous runs in SEQ over the years, including a fantastic production by Spotlight Theatre in 2014.

For this recorded and streamed version of the musical, technical components maintained the raw and minimalist style of the staged rendition. Filmed in a rehearsal space at London Coliseum, the lighting was crisp and mostly utilised industrial-style flood lamps and cool bulbs. The set was stripped back, with paper and sticky notes lining the walls – covering the rehearsal mirrors – some simple wheeled office chairs and a black grand piano.

With such a basic, almost classroom-like, setting, the musical relied heavily on the performers, the pianist and their storytelling abilities. Fortunately, a strong book, lyrics and score by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell gave the performers plenty of material to play with.

Direction by Josh Seymour continued the organic feeling of the setting, with cinematography often feeling intrusive and candid. At times, the camera became a fly on the wall, at others frames cut things off or were shot from unusually high angles. While uncomfortable, it added a layer to the show, creating a character of the fourth wall. Shots like the closeups of sticky notes with answering service voice overs were entertaining, and the socket puppet scene was equally fun.

Marc Elliot (City of Angels) and Tyrone Huntley (Jesus Christ Superstar) provided a massage for the ears with outstanding harmonies throughout the production. Lucie Jones, and Jenna Russell added a lightness to the show and Russell in particular was quite funny.

While it is mostly just fun and good music, ‘[title of show]’ isn’t entirely pointless. It places the lens on the process of writing a show, it emphasises the need to be creative, and the things that drive artists to do what they do. It isn’t deep, but it also doesn’t need to be. It’s entertaining and certainly fun to sing-a-long with if streaming from home.

‘[title of show]’ is now available to stream on BroadwayHD. For more information visit their website.

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