Thursday, June 07, 2018

Desperate Measures

I love meaningful musical theatre. I adore Sondheim. Caroline, Or Change is one of my favorite shows. But sometimes an old-fashioned, well-done, energetic, deeply silly musical is the perfect way to spend an evening. As in: Desperate Measures.

Joseph Wallace, Lauren Molina, Justin Rothberg
Photo: Carol Rosegg

Desperate Measures is sorta, kinda based on Shakespeare's Measure by Measure. Most of the plot is gone. It takes place in a Old Western world of saloon girls and handsome, rugged sheriffs. All the characters have different names. In fact, it's so little like the original that I suspect that the creators just wanted an excuse to use iambic-pentameter couplets. And that's fine with me: they are extremely funny iambic-pentameter couplets (book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg; the listener-friendly music is by David Friedman).

Shows of this sort live and die by the direction and performances, and both are swell. Director Bill Castellino paces the show perfectly, and the cast throw themselves whole-heartedly into the crazy goings-on. I recently learned the phrase "commit to the bit": these performers commit to every single bit with fervor and skill. They are Gary Marachek, Lauren Molina (particularly fabulous), Sarah Parnicky, Conor Ryan, Peter Saide, and Nick Wyman; beside their comic talents, they all sing beautifully. The wonderful musicians are Anthony Festa, Celia Hottenstein, and Tom Souhrada.

As a woman in the lobby after the show summed up Desperate Measures, "You may get here grumpy, but you won't leave grumpy."

Wendy Caster
(discount ticket; 7th row)
Show-Score: 95

No comments: