Monday, March 20, 2023
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In Transit - a cappella musical at Circle in the Square

Oscar E. Moore “from the rear mezzanine” for Talk

In October 2010 I reviewed “In Transit” off Broadway at 59 E 59. It was intimate. A cast of seven. All superb singers whose “harmonies were closer than a jam packed subway car during rush hour.” All sung a cappella – without the accompaniment of any musical instruments. I really enjoyed it a lot.

It has now opened at Circle in the Square with a larger cast of eleven superb singers. Their superb musicianship trumps all. As the slight well-worn stereotypical characters and situations are there solely to showcase the songs and their delivery.

It’s bigger and flashier with stylized choreography by Kathleen Marshall who also directs in three quarter thrust with a conveyor belt, running the length of the stage that keeps the action chugging along at a fast clip.

There is Jane (Margot Seibert) an office temp yearning to star on Broadway. Nate (James Snyder) who has lost his lucrative job and has to deal with an irate and bossy MTA worker with “ATTITUDE” Althea (Moya Angela) who also portrays the in denial BIG TEXAS MAMA of her in the closet son Trent (Justin Guarini) who has a new lover in this edition Steven (Telly Leung). Ali (Erin Mackey) a marathon runner who has split with her boyfriend Dave (David Abeles) and rap narrator Boxman (Chesney Snow – from the original production) who holds it all together with his sound effects and rhythmic backup. Gerianne Perez, Mariand Torres and Nicholas Ward. At certain performances Steven “HeaveN” Cantor is Boxman.

The creators (book, music and lyrics) Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan & Sara Wordsworth with an assist by Gregory T. Christopher & Karla Lant. All are responsible for the original concept.

And they have been adding and revising and updating and enlarging the production values that were just fine to begin with. But this is Broadway. And an audience needs to get a bigger bang for their bucks.

And so the videos, the larger 2 level almost sterile set (Donyale Werle) and flashing lights.

But it is the extraordinary arrangements by Deke Sharon and Music Supervision by Rick Hip-Flores that are the true stars of this production. Along with each amazing singer. You may not remember the songs but you will remember the sound. So sit back and enjoy the ride. 90 minutes. No intermission.

Photo: Joan Marcus