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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bound for Broadway XVI

Part of the yearly Broadway Close Up series, Bound for Broadway presents songs from new musicals that may or may not actually be "bound for Broadway" (only time will tell). Past shows that made the promised land include Avenue Q, Next to Normal, High Fidelity, The Drowsy Chaperone, It Shoulda Been You, and Now. Here. This. Also, a few shows have appeared Off-Broadway (e.g., Musical, the Musical and Murder for Two). This is not a high success rate considering that over 100 shows have been featured, but there is something sweetly aspirational about retaining the name Bound for Broadway. After all, as poet Robert Browning pointed out, "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"

Bound for Broadway host Liz Callaway
This year's show presented four wanna-bes: The More Things Change, with book and lyrics by Kellen Blair and music by Joe Kinosian; LMNOP, with book and lyrics by Scott Burkel and music by Paul Loessel; The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, with book and lyrics by Lezlie Wade and music by Daniel Green; and Amelie, with book by Craig Lucas, lyrics by Nathan Tysen, and music by Dan Mess√©.

The more interesting shows were LMNOP and Amelie. The press release describes LMNOP as follows: "When letters begin to fall from a monument in town, government officials ban them one by one. Chaos ensues until a determined teenage girl rallies the community to fight for freedom of speech. This unique musical is part romance, part clever word game and part adult fable that reminds us of how precious our liberties are; how quickly unbridled extremism can take them from us; and how important it is to have the courage to stand up for what we believe." The two songs presented had clever lyrics and were wryly inviting.

Amelie is based on the movie of the same name, a movie I personally hate. (From the press release, "This new musical is based on the Oscar-winning 2001 French film starring Audrey Tatou as a shy Parisian waitress with a wild imagination.") However, I found the songs beautiful, and "Stay," perfectly sung by Bound for Broadway host Liz Callaway, was the only part of the evening that truly touched me. (Afterward, three separate friends remarked on the similarity of Amelie's sound to that of Once. The resemblance is definitely there, but there are certainly worse shows to resemble.)

Since Bound for Broadway is one night only, it is too late to catch the 2015 version. But if you're interested in the future of the musical, keep an eye out for the 2016 version. Maybe you'll get to see the next Avenue Q.

(press ticket, row N, center)

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