Looking for love and acceptance among the turtles and reptiles, birds and bees and dinosaurs at The Museum of Natural History our four energetic, sharp and funny infused heroes share their wit and wisdom in a musical revue of their lives based on the theories of one Thomas Merton: It is now. We are here. Let’s do this. Ergo: experience more of life, be who you are and enjoy it. Stop wearing a mask, stop pretending, and sing endless songs to prove your point.
Do you see yourself as a weird woman with large feet? (Susan Blackwell) – Do you want to be an actress and not a lawyer following in the footsteps of your successful father who has never told you he loves you? (Heidi Blickenstaff) – Are you fantasizing about being in love with a wonderful guy while masturbating in the bathroom whose door you forgot to lock? (Hunter Bell) – Or are you a closeted gay nerd covering up your true self by being funny? (Jeff Bowen).
All the above have been involved in creating Now. Here. This. A Mensa Society-type musical revue now playing at The Vineyard Theatre through April 22nd.
It’s heady. It’s at times funny. At times tuneful. But the songs (Music and Lyrics by Jeff Bowen) are more functional than memorable and the book by Hunter Bell & Susan Blackwell dwells too long on the cosmic and the details of the inhabitants of the museum with the voice of Roger Rees guiding them along.
At times it is very funny almost in an ad lib sort of way but it goes on way too long pounding us over the head with its well intentioned message. However, the vocal harmonies are truly beautiful to hear.
The production is just as sharply directed and choreographed by Michael Berresse who is also one of the collaborators. It’s a very inbred kind of show that would benefit from another person’s sharp red pencil to make some beneficial cuts.
Now. Here. This. – simply tries too hard. These four performers are top notch. Fine voices. Engaging and funny. They also wrote [Title of Show] a success story Off-Bway that unfortunately didn’t make it when it transferred to Broadway.
We love watching them perform and viewing the most interesting projections by Richard DiBella on a set designed by Neil Patel. They outshine their own material. Through April 22nd.
www.vineyardtheatre.org Photo: Carol Rosegg
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