The premise of “[title of show]” is just plain silly. Four friends decide to write a musical about four friends writing a musical. And, by golly, it works. Jeff and Hunter (named after Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, who wrote the musical with an eye toward entering it into a music festival) are friends who spend their days watching “Wonder Woman” reruns and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.” But what they really want to do is write a musical. Since it’s going to be about them writing the musical, everything they say will be in the script. And when their two friends Heidi and Susan join them, everything they say will be included, as well.
It is chock-full of pop culture and musical theater references, laughs and music that is surprisingly catchy. And it’s a testament to the joy and frustrations inherent in following your dream.
This is the first production from the new Southern Arizona Performing Arts Company, and the group is off to a rousing start.
Director Carson Wright kept the set simple — just four chairs that the actors move around as needed (that’s the same sort of set used for the original production). And he deftly wrung every bit of comedy out of the play.
This cast was up for the sometimes difficult tunes and, to a person, the voices were strong, the acting impressive, and the comedic timing pristine.
Tyler Wright (Hunter) and Andrew Miller (Jeff) have a smooth chemistry and the awkwardness of creative geeks. They were a perfect match.
Mara Katrina Capati (Heidi) is new to Tucson. Lucky us. Her voice soars.
And Robin Bousel (Susan) has moved back here after a long stint in Chicago. Lucky us, again. She not only has a strong voice, she has a killer instinct for comedy.
On the piano is the talented Brice Kimble, a junior at the University of Arizona studying piano. No doubt we’ll hear more about him in the future.
The original play made it to that music festival and eventually to off-Broadway and Broadway. Each time it went further, the creators tagged on a new scene. The result is a play that goes on just a tad longer than it should. But no matter — this is an infectious musical for many reasons, particularly because there is such joy and heart in it.
SAPAC, co-founded by Dennis Tamblyn, Danielle Wright and Kelli Workman, has been in the works for a few years. It has its eye on eventually becoming a fully professional theater. If they keep staging productions as good as this, we think they’ll get there.