CastAlbums.org: Review: Love’s Labour’s Lost – Original Cast Recording

Originally published on CastAlbums.org.

lllWhen composer/lyricist Michael Friedman and director/librettist Alex Timbers‘s musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost debuted at New York’s Shakespeare in the Park in the summer of 2013, it was met with something of a split response. Fans praised the production’s no-holds-barred approach to comedy and catchy, contemporary score performed by a stellar cast including Colin Donnell, Patti Murin, Daniel Breaker, Bryce Pinkham, Rebecca Naomi Jones, and Rachel Dratch. Detractors found the humor sophomoric and the dramaturgy questionable. Ironically, the sophomoric humor and questionable dramaturgy (which allowed for more non-sequitors than your average episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus) were two of the things I liked best about the show, which I saw twice during its limited run in Central Park. Continue reading

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Flavorpill: Blank! The Musical!

Originally published on Flavorpill.

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There’s a foreboding program insert at Blank! The Musical with lots of instructions about how to use the show’s web app, peppered with reassurances that if you don’t have a phone, or if the app doesn’t work, or if you hate audience participation, you’ll be fine, you can just watch the show. You see, Blank! The Musical is an improvised musical, different each night, not unlike what you might see from any of the two-dozen groups showcased at last month’s New York Musical Improv Festival at the Magnet Theater. What sets Blank! apart is the app, a product of Livecube (“the world’s most engaging event app” according to its program bio), allowing the audience to offer suggestions and vote on everything from song titles to lines of dialog, unlike those other plebian improv shows that rely on the audience shouting and applauding to do the same. Well, that and the increased ticket prices ($29-$69) that come with the show’s Off-Broadway address at New World Stages. Continue reading