Monthly Archive for: ‘August, 2016’
LIFE OF THE PARTY: Musical Revue Conceived by David Babani & Andrew Lippa. Directed by David Babani. TheatreWorks at Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View. (650) 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org.
August 24 – September 18, 2016.
Life of the Party earned a standing ovation at TheatreWorks. Rating:
Only having seen one of Andrew Lippa’s musicals (The Addams Family) and with no listing of the song numbers and their original outings in the program for this intimate revue required this reviewer to search the internet to gain information to write a cogent review. Be assured if you are not now familiar with Lippa’s work you will be a fan after seeing The Life of the Party at TheatreWorks’ Mountain View venue.
Andrew Lippa is not a stranger to the Bay Area and is well known to TheatreWorks’ audiences when some of his musicals have been workshopped at their New Works Festival including The Man in the Ceiling, based on the Jules Feiffer graphic novel. It will receive its premiere in Sag Harbor, N.Y next year. Two of the songs from that show (“I Do What I Do” and “To the Gods”) are included in the present revue. The Little Princess musical had its world premiere at TheatreWorks.
Life of the Party received its world premiere in London at the Menier Chocolate Factory with Lippa being the star of this semiautobiographical revue. They have brought along London cast member David Humbley who is well known for his work on Stephen Sondheim musicals and added Broadway luminaries Sally Ann Triplett and Teal Wicks. Music Director William Liberatore shares the piano duties with Lippa and is accompanied by a trio of violin, viola and cello.
Unlike the standard revue format the individual segments are in full costume as if plucked from the original shows. Along with the The Addams Family and The Man in the Ceiling he includes The Wild Party, Big Fish, John and Jen, The Little Princess, and I Am Harvey Milk oratorio commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.
He is the master of ceremonies moving from piano playing to actively taking part in the costumed segments. He begins at grand piano with a musical reminiscence when he was 12 years old and after hearing “Sweeney Todd” dumped his older boyfriend and fell in love with Stephen Sondheim who became his inspiration.
The show is extremely well paced with hyperactivity balanced with quiet and poignant moments. First up are segments from Big Fish the inspirational “Be the Hero [of your story]”, and the humorous “Alabama Stomp” followed by the sorrowful “I Don’t Need a Roof.” The switch from “Fighting Dragons” from The Little Princess is a charmer but does not work as a lead in “The Dominatrix Song” with Cindy (Cinderella) being the “abuser.” A short time later the disturbing “Sister Severia.”
A major segment of the show is a great deal of fun with song and dances from The Addams Family to end the first act. The second act that opens with a teenager mad about baseball adds a homespun touch before Lippa informs us it is time for a sing-a-long hand-holding with “Spread a Little Joy” from the Harvey Milk Oratorio. Then there is a highlight of the evening with “The Wild Party.”
Damian Humbley, Andrew Lippa, Sally Ann Triplett, Teal Wicks (alphabetically listed) are superb in their fine singing and acting with each earning individual accolades while never throwing the ensemble format out of kilter. Director David Babani is greatly aided by great creative staff. All the pieces fit together making a should see grand evening.
Cast: Damian Humbley, Andrew Lippa, Sally Ann Triplett, Teal Wicks
Artistic Staff: Musical Direction: William Liberatore, Orchestrator, Will Van Dyke; Original Choreography, Lynne Page; Choreography, Rebecca Howell; Scenic Design, Morgan Large; Costume Design, Morgan Large; Lighting Design, Tim Lutkin; Sound Design, Brendan Aanes; Stage Manager, Karen Szpaller.
Kedar K. Adour, MD
Courtesy of www.theatreworldim2.com.
The Life of the Party, given its US Premiere by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts through Sept. 18. This musical journey celebrates the Tony-nominated composer of The Addams Family, Big Fish, and The Wild Party. Photo credit: Kevin Berne