Saturday, February 21, 2009

review - Divorce! The Musical

Divorce! The Musical
book, music & lyrics by Erin Kamler
staged and directed by Rick Sparks
musical direction by David O
Hudson Mainstage
through March 29
Leave it to LA to premiere a musical about divorce! It's a hip topic in a hip town. You mean it's not cool to change spouses every now and then? Well, one thing is certain... it is here that therapists and divorce lawyers build an empire off of their clients' separations and indiscretions. Ahhh, it's a ruthless game, and may the best man win! That's entertainment, folks! Divorce! The Musical, currently in its world premiere on the Hudson Mainstage, is high on show, but low on heart.
The versatile actors are all top-notch, as is the zippy direction of Rick Sparks. Even much of the well-arranged music (David O) is accompanied by realistic lyrics about familiar issues like "Rebound Sex" or "We Stuck It Out". Nonetheless, Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Year is a far-more substantial and engaging musical about a couple's breakup, because we get to know the two people more intimately and can see more clearly the ups and downs of their relationship. In Divorce!, by the end of the show, I couldn't care less about the couple, because I only got to know them on a superficial level.
That aside, I enjoyed the cast tremendously, especially the character work of Leslie Stevens and Gabrielle Wagner, who are devilishly good as the opposing lawyers. They sizzle in"Best Friends" and give new meaning to: Are you a lawyer or a volunteer worker? Rick Segall and Lowe Taylor are both appealing and do the best they can to express the feelings/moods beneath the facade. Gregory Franklin is terrif as the groom's aging father and totally suave as the
Rick Sparks is such a talented director and should be producing/directing on Broadway at this point in time. He puts the show in showmanship! To say that this is his best work, however, would be a down and out lie. As always, he rises to the occasion and by means of prolific staging makes the material play far better than it actually is.
RECOMMENDED for its cast and direction. As in a fast-paced game show, you get caught up in its entertaining frenzy.
4 out of 5 stars


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