Can a thirty year old Little Harry (a tall, harried and excellent Robb Sapp) break free of Big Harry (Philip Hoffman) – a Don Juan wannabe without hurting the family business – an Italian Restaurant serving different international dishes every night to drum up business which doesn’t seem to be working as they are three months behind in the rent and get the job of his dreams working for Lidia – of TV fame – learning to be a chef and not just a cook?
Will the twenty nine year old Sherri (a radiant Jillian Louis) break free of her wealthy mother Francine (Jane Summerhays) who just so happens to be the landlord of said restaurant CUDICINI’S – and recover from the break-up with her beau Brandon?
What is Ping (Kate Rigg) a performance artist doing in this retro romantic musical?
These questions and more are answered in this original two act musical – MARRY HARRY by Jennifer Robbins (book) and Dan Martin (music) and Michael Biello (lyrics) with various degrees of success.
The uneven book is the weakest link and needs refinement. There are many good ideas here but it is more of an outline that skims over situations and characters too rapidly.
The songs are much more successful delineating character with wit and melody – with an original voice emanating as one by these two life partners – Martin and Biello.
Fun at moments, soaring at others or tugging at the heartstrings we care about these two people who are looking for a new life and new answers – “You Opened A Door” is especially moving.
When Sherri meets Little Harry and love blossoms instantaneously in the most delightful “The Date” we are off and running as their relationship develops with complications of course.
Debby (a fiery Annie Golden) is the restaurant manager who puts up with Big Harry’s dalliances up to a point – giving her all with “Too Busy Running”. Cameron Folmar portrays a quartet of characters with élan and his “Totally Divine” is just that. Kate Rigg is excellent as Ping – but really what’s the point?
The point is Jillian Louis. And she is a star. The moment she steps on stage she captures our attention and it never wavers. We care about her – totally. She radiates sincerity, vulnerability, humor, spunkiness, a quirky charm, confidence and warmth with a glorious voice (“More Than Make Believe” a standout) and Robb Sapp makes the perfect match for her in MARRY HARRY as directed by Kent Nicholson.
www.nymf.org Photo: Carol Rosegg
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