Monday, November 24, 2014

Blank! The Musical ***

This new show at New World Stages combines musical improv with a smartphone app that allows the audience to contribute to the evening's entertainment by choosing the title, the 4-note musical motif, three song titles, a choreographic style, a line of dialogue and the cast member who speaks it. Tonight the winning title was “Gluten Free, The Musical,” the songs chosen were “My Name Is Goat-Boy,” “Wheat Is the Devil,” and “I’m Full” and the line was “Don’t you DARE touch my smoothie!” Remarkably, the talented cast of seven actors (Katie Dufresne, Nicole C. Hastings, Tessa Hersh, Andrew Knox, T.J. Mannix, Matthew Van Colton and Douglas Widick) and three musicians pulled these diverse elements together into a reasonably coherent and very entertaining musical. Most of the cast honed their improv skills at Second City, so they are very good indeed. Congrats to creator/producer Michael Girts, co-creator/director T.J. Shanoff and music director/pianist Mike Descoteaux for proving that you don’t need five years of development and millions of dollars to put together an enjoyable musical and you don't have to charge an arm and a leg for tickets. It was a pleasure to attend the opening — and closing — night of “Gluten Free.” Running time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

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