A mythical musical where mayhem reigns after the death of a Pope - takes place at Theatre 80 and not the Sistine Chapel as stated in the program of this new musical written entirely by Adam Overett. It isn’t blessed. In fact, it’s like spending an eternity in Purgatory.
Actually it’s about 90 minutes without intermission where there are 7 wannabe-popes vying for the newly vacated position. The cardinals – both male and female – straight and gay – of various ethnic backgrounds and questionable qualifications arrive to Vatican City singing their hearts out about how each should be the one voted to become the next pope over a sound system straight from hell.
Trouble is that Mr. Overett has reached far beyond his qualifications in penning this opus and hasn’t really decided on its tone or what the show should really be about. The music is perky with vamp after vamp, vamping under the dialogue that is forced funny. There is a gospel number, a Ten Commandments number and many other forgettable numbers (no listing of songs). And a serious, love song between two male cardinals. It is their relationship that is the core of this madcap show and the only people we care about.
Here is the list of contenders: Cardinal McCafferty (Stephen Christopher Anthony) the most pious and honest who holds back his closeted gay feelings for Cardinal Bergenstein (David Perlman) the admittedly gay Jewish Cardinal (don’t ask). They are both excellent and handle themselves well despite being surrounded by stereotypical Cardboard Cardinals.
For instance and this is the worst offender – the over-the-top evil Cardinalissimo Francisco Franco (Rachel Coloff) - costumed to look like Quasimodo and screaming and shouting her lines with a heavy Italian accent – with a lisp. Her sidekick Cardinal Wallaby (Susan J. Jacks) is simply annoying.
Then there is Cardinal Hu-Jin Chao (Jason Veasey) for some calmness. Cardinal Fouette (Lucas Thompson) a flamboyant mute ballet dancer. Cardinal Robin (Alexa Green) a brash white trash, gum chewing South Jersey Shore cussing sort who might want to consult with costumer designer DW. And finally Cardinal St. Louis (Danette Holden) a southern belle who gets to belt out the Gospel Number.
There are three overly long and terribly unfunny challenges for the contestants wanting to become Pope before one is elected. Who will it be? If this sounds like fun to you – pay a visit and then go directly to confession.
Directed and choreographed by Drew Geraci.
Photo: Jay Sullivan
Art Work: Or Gotham
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