[The Show]'s the Thing
[title of show]
The Unicorn Theatre's 37th season gets off to a rousing start with "[title of show]," a beautifully directed, fast-paced musical that's all about itself.
Yes, [title of show]'s about the writing and mounting of a show very much like -- well, this one. Or is it this one? The idea may sound slight, but it's very fun and very funny to get in on the action as composer-lyricist Jeff Bowen (played by KC Comeaux) and writer Hunter Bell (Seth Golay) stumble into writing a musical about their own sweet selves and the dilemma they face in building a musical — in the three weeks before the submission deadline — that will sweep them straight (well, as straight as they could possibly get) to a breakthrough hit and the Tony Awards.
Soon enough, they call in their underemployed actress-friends Heidi (Jessalyn Kincaid) and Susan (Natalie Weaver), who work and play with them to flesh out this play about a play, with an audience very much like us in mind. And we were so clever to join them, for a tour de force of inside jokes and high-energy musical numbers! This is a really fun, fast evening of theater and music, performed by a talented, top-notch cast that can really sell a song. In fact, we get 18 of them!
Musical director Anthony T. Edwards sits onstage throughout as Larry [the pianist], sometimes in the background, and sometimes evidently right there in that New York apartment where most of the action unfolds. Director Missy Koonce keeps the whole enterprise aloft and zooming ahead on David Hawkinson's perfect set, with strong production work all around.
No Brechtian stone goes upturned, as we laugh with our friends onstage about even the lighting, as time flies through writing, improv, dreaming of making it big, preview and then kvetching and re-writing for Broadway. This is the only time when I became a little self-conscious, as the characters worried about whether to change it or not; for a minute or two, I found myself thinking about knowing that it got that Tony, or we wouldn't be seeing it in Kansas City... But soon enough, the charming cast ripped me out of my momentary distraction and back to the action on stage.
You'll have so much fun at this show, you just shouldn't miss it. Kansas City is so lucky to have the Unicorn and the whole theatrical community that surrounds it. Book yourself in RIGHT NOW, as the show closes October 10th: you'll have a fabulous time and feel like one of a very fun-loving family!
read the review at KC Stage