Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Citizen Ruth

Photo: Dixie Sheridan

Based on the non-musical movie by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, the musical Citizen Ruth (book and lyrics, Mark Leydorf; music, Michael Brennan) is the tale of an unrepentant loser who becomes a pawn in an ongoing battle between a group of pro-lifers and a group of pro-choicers. The musical is quite true to the movie (which is smart since the movie is funny, biting, and excellent) and has some good and some not-so-good songs (Leydorf's lyrics are studded with painful half- and quarter- and not-even-close-rhymes). Garrett Long is first-rate as Ruth--although her voice is not perfect, her sneer is. The outstanding supporting cast includes Craig Bennett, Janet Dickinson, Sherri L. Edelen, Marya Grandy, Joel Hurt Jones, and the ever-wonderful Annie Golden. If this Fringe Festival show is to have a future, it will need to be trimmed and polished, and many of the so-called rhymes will need to be cleaned up, but it is a solidly entertaining two hours in the theatre.

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