Over the top

Tonylust -- the Broadway Bloodbath of 2006

By David Bell
Directed by Christopher Borg
Emerging Artists Theatre Company 
Non-union production (closes June 4)
The Duplex Cabaret Theater
61 Christopher St. (212/255-5438)
Review by Seth Bisen-Hersh

Tonylust -- the Broadway Bloodbath of 2006 is a hilarious, satirical look at the current state of Broadway politics. With an over-the-top cast and many jokes in bad taste, any theatre person will enjoy this show.

Opening with the overture to The Goodbye Girl, the plot follows two competing musicals for the Best Musical Tony Award in 2006. Leslie J. McMahon (Ellen Reilly) decides she must have her 10th Tony Award. She goes about convincing Terri Romaine (Carol Monda, whose Mamba Boys recently lost its backers, that they should transfer the off-Broadway production of Edward Albee and Philip Glass’s new musical, And So It Goes, to Broadway. It is smart theatre, won the Pulitzer, Drama Desk, and Obie -- how can it lose the Tony?

However, a commercial, comical musical made from a classic movie, Tootsie, is already on a path toward the Tony. Producer Grace Pushkin (Wynne Anders), with her rich backer husband Veep van der Bender (Ron Bopst), attempt to wage a campaign to win the Tony to rival Ave Q’s. As the press, including the infamous Morgan Rydell (Brett Douglas), report, neither side will stop in their quest for the Tony Award. After many antics and spectacles, at the end of the show, the audience becomes the Tony voters who decide whether the smart, intellectual, esoteric show or the fluffy, inane audience favorite should win.

The show is exceedingly funny, replete with many obscure theatre references. No one is safe -- Brooklyn, Spamalot, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sutton Foster are all among the recipients of the lampooning. There were almost nonstop laughs and guffaws coming from the audience.

The cast was superlative. All five delved into the comical aspects of their characters, providing wacky caricatures. Their energy, facial expressions, and eccentricities excelled, making for an exhilarating evening of comedy.

Borg’s direction kept the show moving with vivacious vigor. The costumes, which were black with just touches of color, and the lively, vibrant cardboard props were a cute touch.

Overall, this will be a joyous evening for anyone who is up to date on the current Broadway gossip.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Set: 1
Costumes: 1
Lighting/Sound: 1

Return to Volume Eleven, Number Twenty-Two Index

Return to Volume Eleven Index

Return to Home Page

Copyright 2005 Seth Bisen-Hersh