Missed Connections: A Craigslist Musical at the West Village’s New Ohio Theater (154 Christopher Street) is exactly what it sounds like, all at once completely bizarre and yet, at times oddly relatable.
Whether you’re a hopeless romantic, or you know, maybe just one of New York City’s hopeless thousands, you may want to check out the listings featured in Missed Connections: A Craigslist Musical, during its limited U.S. debut run through September 25th, and see if anything tickles your fancy.
I got to check it out during previews but it officially opens tonight and it’s the quintessential kitchy New York City Off-Broadway experience. A basement theater piled high with vintage furniture decorating the set, with spare instruments and doll heads lying around, tied together with whimsical string lights.
Another theatergoer said it reminded her of the scene from “FRIENDS” when everyone goes to see Joey’s Freud! play. Luckily, our players here had exponentially more talent. The quirky songs—which were derived from ACTUAL Craigslist listings, natch—showcased the cast members’ vocal range extremely well and each got to show off their multi-hyphenate talents from embodying various accents to mastering multiple instruments. It’s frenetic and unfortunately for me, most of the connections remain missed. Rather than tying together the nonfictional listings, they are left as they are, unrequited, which at times was unsatisfying. Just like living in New York City.
The cast includes Jane Bruce (National Tour: Elf) who transformed from a cat-hat collecting cat lady to completely rock out on guitar while searching for a heavy metal roommate, Brandon Ellis (Broadway: Once) who not only sported the guitar and cello, but stole the show as he began to seek out a bather to season his tub full of noodles (Bible. At least he said he wouldn’t be there to watch), Morgan Siobhan Green (Regional: Li’l Abner), who played violin and brought raspy soul to her ballad for her “Bus Boyfriend,” Jamie Pittle (Regional: Million Dollar Quartet) resident drummer, mostly vocally silent, was a pleasant surprise when he came to the forefront to get rid of his “Man’s Toupee”, Shawn Platzker (Film: Prom Night) who’s guitar skills and love for a clown at the mall was an endearing—and pretty much the only—anchor throughout, and Debbie Tjong (International: Les Miserables) the pianist whose deadpan delivery over a staccato melody advertising her free sponges drove home the idea that you really just can’t make this stuff up.
Directed by Phillip George (Forbidden Broadway, the same outfit bringing us Spamilton), choreographed by Amy Hall Garner, written by Canadian humorist Bill Richardson, indie folk artist, Veda Hille and award-winning playwright/director Amiel Gladstone, the show was first developed as Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata and premiered at the Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver, which is to what we can attribute its off-kilter humor. This title instead became the song at the climax of the show, if a non-linear story can have one. P.S. guys, I loved the nod to Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango” with the “Roommates” number. #theaternerdalert
Some of the songs will have you thinking, “What kind of person is actually asking for this?” and more importantly, “What kind of person actually responds?” I would have loved to know how any of these requests turned out and if anyone got what they wanted. But when the cast comes together to melodically wonder whether anyone out there saw them, noticed them, became curious about them that day, you couldn’t help but feel that pang of familiarity…what, just me? Fine.
Tickets are $45.00 and can be purchased by visiting MissedConnectionsMusical.com or calling (866) 811-4111.[slideshow]
Photo credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia.