Ross Valley Players’ ‘Just my Type’ peeks waggishly at love and life
Michael Sally and Charlotte Jacobs not only star in “Just My Type — The Musical,” they wrote it.
Which figures because the two theatrical double-threats are both healers and Kate and Ben, the primo characters in this musical comedy based on the quasi-scientific Myer-Briggs test, are married psychologists writing a book on personality types.
The fictitious duo focuses on four couples from their practices to illustrate how different types affect love and life.
Thinkers vs. feelers, for instance.
And introvert vs. extrovert.
The show also deals, mostly waggishly, with the three biggest areas of conflict: communication, money and sex.
Music and lyrics for the play, part of a Ross Valley Players’ showcase for new material, Ross Alternative Works (RAW), were created by two-time Emmy Award winner Rita Abrams, who’s known for collaborations that include “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” and “For Whom the Bridge Tolls” and who also does double duty for the show as musical director.
Topics range from falling in love (despite the faller being a radically different type than the fallee, just short of an opposite) to the clichéd idea of breaking up being hard to do.
Sally, who gets co-director credit with Michael Cohen, is a psychotherapist who actually uses the introspective self-report Myers-Briggs questionnaire as a tool. He has years of experience as actor and director.
Jacobs is a Stanford oncologist and medical biographer as well as an accomplished actor with an elastic face.
Together they’ve managed to cram a lot into a two-hour show — including an abundance of cerebral gobbledygook and verbiage.
Which are overshadowed, thankfully, by heaps of humor — through both character delineation (there’s no plot to speak of, only revue-like segments) and the overlay of Abrams’ often witty/clever lyrics.
Her 19 songs (and one ever-popular tune replicated from earlier shows, “Deli-lemma,” which ironically became the showstopper) show her dexterity with wordplay.
Time for a disclaimer: Rita’s been in my circle of acquaintances/friends for decades. I like her — and her musical creations. But I’ve been writing professional criticism and reviews too long to let our relationship affect my judgment.
You, however, certainly should check out “Type” to see if my judgment is right.
I suggest that because the ballad-heavy second act’s not the best-ever example of her talent, you look closer at the first. The range of music is astounding: from pop and country to blues and lullaby, from novelty and rockabilly to soft shoe.
Not to mention one tune that undulates from waltz ballad to fast march tempo.
“Type” is crammed with tons of delightful one-line textual perceptions. Such as, “I can change her/him after we get married.”
And snarky lone-line quips like, “Your wife’s honey-do list is longer than ‘War and Peace.’”
Serious material is interjected, too.
Like a summation of the varying types being neither good nor bad, “just different.”
Or a plea to “let me be a friend to you.”
Sally and Jacobs’ script is based on “Type Talk: The 16 Personality Types That Determine How We Live, Love, and Work,” a 1988 book by Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen, and “16 Ways to Love Your Lover,” the 1994 Kroeger-Thuesen follow-up.
Because of those antecedents, some references may feel antediluvian: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “The Wizard of Oz” — or est, the Erhard Seminars Training rage that began in a San Francisco hotel ballroom more than 35 years ago.
And yes, the play may go on a tad too long (it would benefit greatly, in my opinion, were it pared by about 15 minutes).
Still, it’s clear throughout “Type” how hard the entire cast and crew have toiled to make this new material work. And how much energy was required to pull it off.
Ultimately, the show managed to educate while entertaining me.
If you go, I guarantee — after you recognize that “we all have elements of all types” within us — you’ll find your own basic personality type portrayed.
You may, in fact, even be able to laugh at it.
“Just My Type” will run at The Barn, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Ross, through April 29. Night performances, 7:30 p.m. Fridays through Sundays; matinees, 2 p.m. Sundays. Tickets: $25. Information: or (415) 456-9555 or www.rossvalleyplayers.com.