Bryce Blair, Susan Crocker, Josh O’ Brien & Jennifer Poliskie
in [title of show]. Photo courtesy of Little Colonel’s Playhouse.
[title of show]
Book by Hunter Bell
Music and Lyrics by Jeff Bowen
Directed by Janet Morris
Reviewed by Craig Nolan Highley
Entire contents copyright © 2012 by Craig Nolan Highley. All rights reserved.
A fun little show opened and closed this weekend at the Little Colonel Playhouse in Pewee Valley, and I hope you got a chance to see it. Known by the bizarrely literal title [title of show}, it ran for only four performances but will not be quickly forgotten.
The show told the story of its two composers, Jeff and Hunter (Bryce Blair and Josh O’Brien), as they composed a new musical initially for a competition, then ultimately to take to Broadway. They were assisted in this undertaking by their actress friends Heidi and Susan (Jennifer Poliskie and Susan Crocker) and their mostly silent accompanist Mary (music director Kim Stover Hartz). It had very little plot-wise, but it made for a nice framework on which to hang a lot of clever musical numbers and fun vignettes about the many struggles this small group faced on their journey from obscurity to the lights of Broadway.
For the most part, it worked; all five of the performers made the most of the material without a weak link in the cast. Blair and O’Brien turned in especially impressive turns as their characters carried the brunt of the emotional element of the show, while Poliskie and Crocker managed to steal scenes from them right and left. Hartz’s moments were especially funny as she rarely spoke except when she wanted to remind us she was there (and she was the sole musician giving accompaniment tirelessly on the piano).
Janet Morris’s direction kept things flowing nicely from musical number to vignette to musical number. Hunter Bell’s libretto was mostly fun and comedic, but it seemed to lose steam for a while in the second half when the tone turned from lighthearted to cynical. But things recovered nicely by the end. Jeff Bowen’s songs were generally a lot of fun, but there were one or two that I frankly just didn’t enjoy. (I thought “Change It/Don’t Change It” would never end.)
But overall, this was a nice departure from the G-rated fare we usually get from the Little Colonel Playhouse, and this reviewer hopes it is a sign of great things to come.
[title of show]
Featuring Bryce Blair, Susan Crocker, Kim Stover Hartz, Josh O’Brien, and Jennifer Poliskie.
September 20-23, 2012
Little Colonel Playhouse
302 Mount Mercy Drive
Crestwood, KY 40014
(502) 241-9906