Thursday, December 06, 2007

Queens Boulevard (the musical)

Photo/Carol Rosegg

Excited as I am to see William Jackson Harper make it to a larger stage, and thrilled as I am by the multiple characters he and other standouts like Debargo Sanyal and Demosthenes Chrysan perform, I don't see the point of Chuck Mee's latest interpretation (this time of a Katha-Kali play, The Flower of Good Fortune). Signature is fortunate to have found such a talented set designer in Mimi Lien, as she mirrors Mee's script: attention-grabbing billboards (in various neon, LCD, and plasma) that sharing only the location, Queens Boulevard (incidentally also the name of this play). And director Davis McCallum gets the energy off on the right foot with a DJ (Satya Bhabha) riling up the bride and groom's parties, letting the diversity of the show and cast mingle with the diversity of the audience. But this is not a musical -- what few songs there are are canned, and they have little to nothing to do with supporting the story -- and this is not really a play, simply an adventure narrative (somewhat like that of Forrest Gump, but on a far less epic scale) that lets Mee throw in the latest things he's read, be that about fertility doctors, tips for immigrant survival in New York, or more taxicab confessions . . . There's less cohesion or precision in this collaged material than in Iphigenia 2.0, and the result is a trivial play that at best is only mildly amusing and at worst painfully inaccurate about New York life.

[Also blogged by: Patrick | David]

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