Adopting a baby isn’t easy. Especially when the would-be expectant parents are two gay guys – that seem to have every conceivable gay trait and then some. Neither is writing a musical about the process. The very candid, very funny and extremely touching (some might say sentimental) The Kid, based on a book by openly gay syndicated columnist Dan Savage whose sex advice forum is as funny as it is profane almost totally succeeds.
It is extremely witty and clever, almost too clever for its own good (book Michael Zam – lyrics Jack Lechner ) and has some enjoyable while listening to it music (Andy Monroe) that brings to mind Gilbert and Sullivan patter songs, The sung through The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Donna Summer and some simply sweet ballads. Because of its structure The Kid sometimes comes across more a revue than a solid book musical.
While going on a bit too long, that hopefully next time around will be remedied by director Scott Elliott, The Kid is having a limited run at the Acorn on Theatre Row through May 29th and is certainly worth seeing.
Especially for the incredibly rounded, timed to perfection, nuanced performance of Christopher Sieber as columnist Dan – the older but not yet wiser half of the couple wanting to adopt. His thinner, more emotionally fraught, ten years younger boyfriend Terry (Lucas Steele) and he have decided to bring a bundle of joy into their gay household after being together two years – not knowing what the complicated process of an “open adoption” entails.
An adoption where the birth mother chooses the parents to be and is involved with the child – ongoing. And who can change her mind up until the last minute. And so their journey begins with a meeting with Anne (a deadpan and wondrous Susan Blackwell) the social worker guiding them through the arduous process.
Melissa (a very special Jeannine Frumess) the pregnant teen mother in question is a homeless, subdued, smelly waif with an edge who has taken drugs and booze and whose almost twin-like boyfriend Bacchus (Michael Wartella) has abandoned her only to have second thoughts in the second act that threatens to forestall the adoption process. They bring some emotional gravitas to the otherwise light and charming entertainment.
An underused Jill Eikenberry as Dan’s willful mom, who is very much looking forward to being a grandmother; helping her son to understand what it means to be a parent is a very likable individual who disappears after making a brief appearance in Act I. She does, however, have a beautiful song “I Knew” in Act II.
The rest of the cast, playing a variety of roles, is excellent. The video projections are fine by Aron Deyo, particularly the letters to Dan which are not like anything Dear Abby ever had to answer. With a little more nurturing The Kid could be a winner.
www.thenewgroup.org Photo: Monique Carboni