The Ultimate Word

"The ultimate Word is not a paragraph but a person. If Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, then the heart of proclamation is personal and relational, not propositional."

Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki * God, Christ, Church, page 135

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FCS: Silence! The Musical


Welcome to my first attempt at a theater review from an outsider's perspective!

Quick facts:
  • Show: Silence! The Musical
  • Off-Broadway
  • Date of performance: Monday, February 20, 2012
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Closing date: open-ended 
  • Venue: P.S. 122 (in the East Village)
  • Running time: 90 minutes (no intermission)
  • My seat: awesome!
  • Ticket source: TDF
  • Understudies: Jan Javier in for Ashlee Dupre, Pamela Bob in for Deidre Goodwin
Know someone working the show?  Kind of...  Brian J. Nash is the musical director and orchestrator of the show, and we've recently met and have been getting to know each other a little.  He's a really nice guy!  I basically sent him "fan mail" after being WOWED! by his talent at the Duplex Cabaret Theatre, and he actually responded!  But I don't actually know him well enough to seriously influence my opinion of the show.


Synopsis: Silence! The Musical is...  wait for it... The unauthorized musical parody of Silence of the Lambs!  Sometimes it's just great living in the New York area....

My thoughts: Well, I don't usually like comedies.  Basically, I'm kind of a nerd, and I don't tend to find things funny that most people tend to find funny.  But MY LORD, was this funny?!!  The music wasn't life changing, or the kind of thing I found myself walking away humming, but I didn't get the impression that the music was really the point.  It's a spoof.  Even so, I bought the cast recording and look forward to listening to more!  If you know and love the story of Silence of the Lambs, you'll enjoy poking a little fun at it.

Jenn Harris in the role of Clarice Starling was absolutely brilliant.  She is like a living caricature of Jodie Foster.  Furthermore, she's a genius of comic timing, and she controls her face like it was Silly Putty... Similarly, Annie Funke gave a standout performance in the role of Catherine Martin.  The unexpected star of the show, however, was Topher Nuccio (Sgt. Pembry).  This man is truly a star.  This is his off-Broadway debut, but I'd look for more from him soon.  He has a commanding stage presence - it's hard to take your eyes off of him, but with talent like his, why would you want to?!  Set up your Google alerts now, because this guy's gonna do some cool work!

If you haven't been to P.S. 122 before - seek it out!  It's a former Public School (that's what P.S. means, to you folks outside of the New York area - at least this is the only place I'VE ever seen it...), but it's become a Performance Space.  Neat!  They got to keep the P.S.!  This was my first show to see there, but it was a perfect setting for going into the Silence of the Lambs story.  The building is old, and creaky, and has been modified within an inch of its life - so walking in I felt like I was walking into Buffalo Bill's basement.

The theater itself is very small, so it's hard to imagine that there would be any really bad seats in the house, but my seats happened to be incredible!  It happens every now and then, even with TDF!  I was in the center section, on the fourth row, on an aisle.  It couldn't have gotten much better than that!

Well...  Actually it could have...  Theaters are known for having VERY uncomfortable seats, and the dear people at P.S. 122 seem to have stretched the bounds of even that unpleasant reputation.  These were just standard issue banquet chairs, crammed together as close as possible.  On my row there were several full grown adult men side-by-side - each of us with broad shoulders.  By the time the shoulders lined up down to me on the aisle, I was practically falling out of my seat.  It was very uncomfortable, and often distracting throughout the show.

But on a bright spot, there was a bar with good beer, and we were actively encouraged to buy extra drinks and bring them into the house (not wanting to be a bad guest, I complied...).  Of course, the down side of that is, there's no intermission, and with the layout of the house, you can't really "slip out" for a break...  So there was another bit of a distraction by the time we got good and into the show.

There's lots of great merchandise for sale in the hallway that functions as a lobby.  Normally I wouldn't mention this, except the lady staffing the table was really quite friendly and wonderful.  When you do see the show, be sure and say hello!  You won't regret it!

Since my "nearly friend" Brian J. Nash was on the keyboard, I do have to say a word about him.  He's truly brilliant on the keys.  You've got to see him play sometime.  Obviously, the pit was out of sight, so I didn't get to see him work, and, as I would expect is true in most musical theater accompanying, there's not a lot of room for variation and creativity from performance to performance - you don't want to trip up the folks on stage!  So I didn't have much of a chance to hear Brian work his magic as I've come to appreciate it -- with one very notable exception!  During the music that was being played as we were walking out, I could definitely hear Brian on the keys.  Even though he was out of sight, I could tell it was him.  He was playing.  And not just in the "playing the piano" sort of way, but he was being playful.  It was great.  If my couple of beers hadn't had me rushing out the door, I would have loved to have just sat for that part to appreciate his talent!

Closing arguments:
  • Would I see it again?  Probably not.  It's really not much of a see it again and again show for me.
  • Would I recommend it to others? If so, who?  DEFINITELY - you know, people who could take it....  People not easily offended.  People with a little edge.
  • Twitter review: A really fun show!  Laughed lots.  Good music and amazing talent!  Definitely worth your time!

2 comments:

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I love this new addition to your blog. What a great idea! Maybe you'll even get "complimentary tickets" one day.

Jon M. Richardson said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. Like I said in my first post, going to the theater is one of the few things I do for the sheer love of it outside of my work, and I've decided to nurture that love this way... Thanks for reading!

And if the comp tickets come... Well...... Who am I to turn them down?! :)