||Songs from an Unmade Bed
by Mary Shen Barnidge
This article shared 4288 times since Wed Apr 2, 2014
Playwright: lyrics by Mark Campbell, music by Debra Barsha, Mark Bennett, Peter Foley, Jenny Giering, Peter Golub, et al. At: Pride Films and Plays at the Apollo Studio, 2540 N. Lincoln Ave. Tickets: 773-935-6100; www.ticketmaster.com; $25-$30 Runs through: April 27
Mark Campbell wrote his song cycle as a oneman show, but Pride Films and Plays director Derek Van Barham thought it might add visual interest to have two men share the role of the narrator. What nobody anticipated, however, was that the first preview performance of his revue would require three actors to play our solitary heroJordan Phelps, performing as rehearsed, and understudy Tommy Thurston, seated upstage with the orchestra, voicing a temporarily mute Kevin Webb as the latter mimed his designated stage business ( which includes lots of kissing, by the way ).
The 18 songs encompassing the spectrum of the gay New York City life are the collaboration of lyricist Mark Campbell and a diversity of composers, some of whose topics are what you'd expectlost innocence ( "Oh, to be Stupid Again" ), eroding marriages ( "The Man in the Starched White Shirt" ), indelible memories of ephemeral occurrances ( "Perfect, Finite" ) and the obligatory hotcha-hotcha "I Want to Go Out Tonight" just before intermissionyes, a 90-minute show can schedule an intermission.
Others delight us with their reversals: "He Never Did that Before" reflects a lover's suspicion of his/her partner's new bedroom skills, while "Dinner Party" celebrates preprandial kitchen quickies. "An Admission" acknowledges a long-time relationship that began with an underwhelming first glimpse of nudity, and in "He Plays the Cello," the boyfriend of a Pablo Casals-wannabe expresses relief that his beloved doesn't fancy the trombone.
This last composition ( music by Jeffrey Stock ) showcases an array of virtuoso riffs for cellist David Keller, who, along with music director Robert Ollis on the Yamaha electric keyboards, anchor the evening's smoothly-integrated progress. Jonas Davidow greets us as we enter with a medley of torchers from the Broadway repertoireno smarmy canned music in this jointbesides later doubling as percussionist and utility player, as needed, for Barham's imaginative choreography of the uniformly charming Phelps and Webb.
Less confident theater companies, upon hearing of an actor's illness, would have simply canceled the performance, but the alacrity and expertise exhibited by the Pride Films and Plays ensemble under unforeseen duress ensures audiences a lively and exciting time, despite whatever conditions may be engendered by the caprices of live theater.
This article shared 4288 times since Wed Apr 2, 2014
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