For anyone who has ever taken the New York subway and for that matter anyone visiting New York City and wants to venture forth, the new musical “In Transit” which is running at 59 E 59 Street through October 30th is in for an eye opening treat as to what to expect and who to expect while trying to reach their destination while enjoying the journey.
That’s what the characters all have in common. To get somewhere. Trying to reach their goals. Whether it be a job as an actor, a new apartment, financial security, a new relationship or trying to break through the stubborn wall of denial, “In Transit” enlightens us through clever lyrics and downright hysterical confrontations all sung a cappella, that is, without the accompaniment of any musical instruments. And it works beautifully. I don’t know how well this will go over with the musicians union but that’s another musical.
For now, sit back and enjoy the ride with an exemplary cast of seven whose harmonies are closer than a jam packed subway car during rush hour. The musical arrangements and direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell are fantastic as is the spot on direction and musical staging by Joe Calarco.
With a sharp wit, satirical barbs and basic honesty the creators have come up with a truly original way of presenting some well worn characters and situations. Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth – based on an original concept created along with Gregory T. Christopher & Karla Lant. This is a case of too many cooks not spoiling the stew. Which in this case, is made with prime sirloin.
The amazing rap narrator, Boxman (Chesney Show) holds everything together with his sound effects and rhythmic backup. There is Mr. Macho Bass (incredible Steve French) Alto (Celisse Henderson) who will knock your socks off with her MTA clerk’s attitude and a Texas Mama visiting her not quite out of the closet son Trent (Tenor Tommar Wilson) who sings one of the best numbers “Choosing Not to Know”. Hannah Laird is Ali (Soprano) a Marathon runner on Weight Watchers who garners great sympathy with “The Moving Song”. As temp worker Jane searching for stardom Denise Summerford (Mezzo) delivers both comic timing and a heartfelt yearning for new date, Nate (Baritone Graham Stevens) who is the poor sole who has to deal with the MTA booth clerk.
Any show lucky enough to get Anna Louizos as set designer has to be special. “In Transit” is no exception. Ms. Louizos has replicated an ideal subway platform with panels that rise and fall to accommodate other locations, movable columns and subway seats on rollers that allow for swift transitions that make this journey on the New York subway system run smoothly without any glitches or delays.