***** (...out of five stars)
Manifest destiny: realized! From the New York Musical Theater Festival to off-Broadway at the Vineyard to a brilliant and sassy Youtube campaign, this musical about making a musical finally makes its triumphant debut on Broadway. Exclamation point! For those of us out there who fell in love with this show in its earlier incarnation, the [title of show] family remains happily intact as do all of the songs. Add to that some new, stronger choices in terms of plot development, new scenes marking their journey from off-Broadway to Broadway and a blissfully full house of [title of show] fans ("tossers") hooting and hollering every time the cast makes a reference about hoping they make it to Broadway, and we have ourselves one happy night at the theater. For those of you out there who have not seen [title of show] yet, GO, for this unique musical is one of a kind. The actual composer and the book writer are playing themselves 8 times a week in their own show. Would Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse ever do something like that? (The mind boggles). Also playing themselves are Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff, friends of Hunter and Jeff's, who round out the show with hysterical observations, kick ass vocals and a warm feminine soul. It's damn near impossible to not fall in love with these kids who collectively throw it all out there in their bid to become "part of it all". This is the most charming Broadway production I have ever seen. And I say that having seen Mamma Mia twice.