Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called [title of show]. The book was by Hunter Bell and the music and lyrics were by Jeff Bowen. It was directed by M. William Panek and the musical director was T.J. Anderson. It is about this group of friends who decide to put together a show for a festival. There is a man named Jeff (Yando Lopez) who is writing the music and lyrics and a man named Hunter (Matt Frye) who was writing the scenes. This one is actually about the actual people who wrote the show writing the show that you're seeing, as opposed to, like, Merrily We Roll Along, which is also about people writing a show but it is not the show that you are currently watching. There were also two women who both wanted to act in the show, Susan (Neala Barron) and Heidi (Anna Schutz). There was also a piano player, Larry (Justin Harner), who they included in the show too, which I thought was really awesome. It is about friendship, working hard, and trying to get rid of bad feelings in your life that keep you from making the art that you want.
The best early line ever in the entire history of plays is probably the line "A drag queen stole my shrimp." (That sounds like it could be a blog. I want to make that!) It is so great because it is so strange and weird and you wouldn't expect that to be one of the opening lines of a show. It shows this is going to be a weird and awesome play. It shows that the characters have crazy lives, and it shows you that Jeff and Hunter tell each other everything, even the strangest things. I think that shows a lot about their friendship. I feel like the actors fit the characters very well and it made you feel like they were your friends too. The line is the start of an idea that they have to make this amazing musical that is low-budget but amazing still. The whole musical is about them trying to find what the real show is about and that one line about shrimp is this first little bit of an idea they start having about making the show about themselves.
There is a song called "Monkeys and Playbills." It was a very nonsensical song but I loved it! It is all about Hunter and Jeff trying to write the show. The monkeys are to help Hunter focus on writing the story of the show. The playbills were from flop musicals and they represented how their show might turn out but also how they might do better. And they are inspired by the musicals because some of them were actually good musicals, they were just so much money to produce. They referred to all the musicals and would name them in the lyrics to the song. That was just really funny and clever.
I really liked the two songs "I Am Playing Me" and "Secondary Characters" because they were both very funny songs but they also really showed off the actresses' vocal range. "I Am Playing Me" is sung by Heidi in a rehearsal and Jeff keeps telling her that she is hitting the wrong note and then she sings, "That's the note I'm hitting!" but kind of angrily and I found that really funny. It was there to show the rehearsal process and what it actually like. In some shows they are like, rehearsal is great and easy and we never have a single fight. But that is not how it actually is. Especially if you are doing a show with friends who are still working on it and are bugging you constantly to make it the way that they made it. In "Secondary Characters" Heidi and Susan are singing about their relationship with each other and how they had never really noticed how they could be such good friends. I think it is about them really becoming friends because that is what happens in the process of the show. But it is also a really good plot point.
People who would like this show are people who like killing metaphoric vampires, awesome musicals, and shrimp-stealing drag queens. I think people should definitely definitely go see this show. It is a great show with amazing performers! I had so much fun at this show and I really loved it. I felt like I just wanted to sing all the way home!
Photos: CB Lindsey