Two bloggers take commercial musical theater by storm...and live to tell the tale.
By Tony Asaro and Kevin Michael Murphy(An unrelenting monkey and Sally Jessie RaFAGel)
So this past Tuesday evening, I (Kevin Michael Murphy) received an invitation to "blogger night" at the new Broadway show, Baby It's You. I received a comp for a +1, and I knew immediately that I wanted to share this free ticket(and the open bar that preceded it) with my friend and fellow blogger, Tony Asaro. With a slight buzz on, and our bellies half full with hors d'oeuvres, we sat down and took in a show. Here are our thoughts.
First of all, we'd like to preface this with the fact that we are not reviewers, but simply artists sharing our feelings and experiences in relation to this show. We would also like to apologize to the people that shushed us for singing the score to "The Boyfriend" (complete with Julie Andrews dialects) before the show started.
What did you learn from watching this show?
- I used to think that putting offensive stereotypes onstage was incendiary, irresponsible, and should be avoided. I learned this to be blatantly false at Baby It's You, providing you legitimize the use of stereotypes with a respective signature catch phrase for each. For the Jewish husband, it's familiar Yiddish words like "meshuga" and "oy". For women, it's something about shoes. For black characters, it's the requisite poor grammar and riffing during songs.
- I learned that if you're going to have an inconsequential blind character whose blindness is his only character trait, it isn't enough to costume him with sunglasses. You must also have every other character refer to his blindness every fifth line or so.
- I learned that all those years I studied the craft and technique of musical theatre writing were a waste of time.
- I learned who Florence Greenberg is.
- I learned that it is possible to mirror the book of a musical off of a Time Life Music Infomercial. (Literally one of the co-authors is a consultant for Time Life music.)
- I learned that imitation is the biggest form of flattery. Exhibit A:
Exhibit B: The finale of the show is remarkably similar to that of Memphis(only without the energetic showstopper that resembles "You Can't Stop the Beat".)
Who would enjoy this show?
Tony: The people who sat behind us, apparently. In a broader sense, I think tourists who paid full price would enjoy it, because their only other option would be to acknowledge that they wasted a month's rent to bring their family to this show.
Kevin: This lady.
If the fabulous Beth Leavel left the show for whatever reason, who would you want to see replace her?
Tony: Carolee Carmello, Daphne Rubin-Vega, or Seth Rudetsky
I like having opinions about shows I've never seen. What do I tell my friends?
Tony: This is the show that will make you hate musicals! You'll leave thinking, "Yeah... I kinda understand why the jocks beat me up in high school."
Kevin: Maybe I'm wrong, but I just get the feeling that producers put this on Broadway so that they could use the title "Broadway musical" and actually make their money back in the future from the royalties of non-equity regional productions of this show. Is that something that producers do? Should NY audiences have to pay the price for that?
Okay, so we get how you feel about this show. Tell me one thing you did like?
Tony: I liked my companion, Kevin Michael Murphy.
Kevin: Oh, Tony. Now I'm all red in the face and bashful. You're pretty swell too. First, I want to recognize that a lot of people have worked very hard on this show and have a lot of talent(specifically the 4 girls playing the Shirelles). That said, the writing and storytelling are cheap and pander to the lowest common denominator. I'd much rather have heard the actors simply sing the songs and stand still. Ms. Leavel is working her butt off, and she is a joy to watch. Let's all take a second to remember her Tony award winning performance in "The Drowsy Chaperone."
"Baby It's You" opens April 27th at the Broadhurst Theater. If you see it, let us know what you think!
Tony: We probably aren't going to be invited to another "blogger night" are we?
Kevin: No, Tony, no we're not.