New musical comedy ReWrite starring Joe Iconis
ReWrite – starring Joe Iconis
Oscar E Moore from the rear mezzanine for Talk Entertainment.com
Who, you may ask, is Joe Iconis? He might very well be the new voice of musical comedy. He is a non-traditionalist composer with an outrageous sense of dark humor who can create memorable in-your-face, larger than life characters out of ordinary folk who feel they are not worthy but then discover that they are. People who sometimes do extreme things and then become so humanly fragile and compassionate that you wonder how he manages such tricks.
ReWrite – a new musical comedy triple feature that Joe Iconis has put his official stamp of originally on and which has just opened at Urban Stages will either have you quickly becoming a fan of his particular type of musical comedy or not. For those seeking the old form with songs destined to become standard hits and for a linear story line this may not be your cup of tea. But for those open to new structure, new thoughts, snippets of wonderful melodic motifs, great fun and gutsy feelings - by all means rush to this most unique and innovative show.
Now how can I describe ReWrite –which could be sub-titled “Beat the Clock” without giving away all of the wonderful surprises in store for those who see it? It consists of three seemingly unrelated one act musicals, where everyone is under some sort of time pressure – Nelson Rocks! Where Nerd man Nelson wants to ask Jenny “right now” to the Prom but his rival Ike wants Jenny too. Next is Miss Marzipan where a woman in a house dress is frantically preparing dinner for Mr. Big D to impress him with her marzipan specialties, but there is a problem in her pantry. The final episode The Process deals with a writer who has a deadline, trying to meet it at Dunkin Donuts but has all these voices in his head disturbing his process.
The cast is superlative and under the direction of John Simpkins, who directed a production of Floyd Collins at NYU that simply blew me away, does so again. He is a very gifted director who manages to bring out the humanity of all his characters despite the Twilight Zone like situations. The design team glistens – Set: Michael Schweikardt, Lighting: Chris Dallos and Videos: Alex Koch. Jennifer Werner had added some excellent and amusing choreography. On stage, at the piano, is Joe himself.
Playing an assortment of characters at different ages and stages in their lives and in various scenarios you will see six of the most talented people appearing in ReWrite – Nick Blaemire, Badia Farha, Lorinda Lisitza, Lauren Marcus, A.J. Shively and Jason “Sweet Tooth” Williams. The perfect ensemble cast.
Somehow you wind up caring for all these quirky personalities and admiring how well Mr. Iconis and Mr. Simpkins have made the ridiculous seem sublime and seemingly strange people made human. I only wish that the Miss Marzipan sequence was shorter. No one and I mean no one having to do what the character of the Young Man so desperately needs to do could hold out so long from doing it.
Tickets $40.00 www.urbanstages.org
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