Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NY Fringe Review: MoM A Rock Concert Musical


Desperate Housewives Meet American Idol

Presented by: 5 Mothers
Writer: Richard Caliban
Director: Richard Caliban

Summary:
Five mothers form a rock band for a school fundraiser and find that they like performing. That gig leads to a TV commercial and that leads to an agent and before they know it, they are on the road touring and trying to come to grips with sudden fame. Nancy (Jan Keitel) is a single mom, sort of the leader of the group. Melissa (a delightful Bekka Lindstrom), who fits right in to the rock star persona (and she looks like one too) wonders how she wasted so many years trying to be someone she’s not. Her relationships break down with her son, Brian, and her husband, especially when he sees her share a romantic kiss with Nancy, with whom she has just begun a lesbian relationship.

Ingrid (Dana McCoy) is high most of the time, trying to escape from the constrictions of being a good wife to a celebrity cellist. Southern Nell (Stefanie Seskin), who regrets that her husband has been her only sexual partner, fantasizes about cowboys and other men (she’ll go to bible study twice this week to make up for it, she says) and finally has an affair with one. Karen (Donna Jean Fogel) doesn’t do drugs, doesn’t want to be unfaithful to her husband, and has a hard time making the band first priority in her life.

The story of the women’s hopes and struggles are told mostly through songs, with each of the actresses playing a multitude of musical instruments.

Highlights:
• Caliban’s lyrics are clever and the band rocks out the place
• The music styles of the songs are varied
• All of the actresses bring depth and warmth to their characters

Lowlights:
• Kind of depressing. Maybe because I’m a middle aged mom and I can totally see some of my cohorts form the old PTA days touring as a rock band, I wanted to see them have fun, not have their lives fall apart.
• WAY too long at 2 hours with an intermission. Cut to 90 minutes with no intermission, the show would play better.
• The story involves way too much emphasis on sex.
• Some vocals are weak.

Christians might also like to know:
• Language
• Homosexuality
• Sexually suggestive dialogue throughout

Fringe Tassels Awarded: 2

VENUE #2: CSV Cultural and Edu. Cntr.
See it again Sun 30 @ 12

--Lauren Yarger

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and is a theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer. She previously served as Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

Yarger is a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly and freelances for other sites. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

She is a freelance writer and playwright and member of The Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association and The League of Professional Theatre Women. She served as a judge for the SDX Awards presented by the Society of Professional Journalists. She also is a member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and the CT Press Club.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2017 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle and The Drama Desk, the two professional critics organizations with journalists covering NY theater. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about (I review all Broadway shows and pertinent Off-Broadway shows), I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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