NYMF: Errol and Fidel Too Many Hands Spoil the Plot

NYMF: Errol and Fidel Too Many Hands Spoil the Plot
George Psomas

George Psomas Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Tis the season, for new musicals to burst onto the scene and discover those new hidden talents. First up is a venture into NYMF called Errol and Fidel, with book by Boyd Anderson and Guy Anderson, music by Peter Kaldor, John Kaldor and Doug Oberhammer, and lyrics by Boyd Anderson. This true relationship between the iconic movie star and Cuba’s numero uno rebel, at the height of the Cuban revolution has possibilities, but needs some major work.

Claire Saunders, Sydia Cedeno

Claire Saunders and Sydia Cedeno Photo by Jeremy Daniel

We arrive in Cuba, circa 1958, as an older woman (the delightful Sydia Cedeno) tells us the story of a “La Cucaracha” and a chicken. She cajoles us to discover who is really calling the shots. We move to the set of a B rated movie where Errol Flynn (Jonathan Stewart) the dashing star of Hollywood, is no longer bankable. He yearns to have one last adventure and become a real hero. As he begs his agent (Cole Grissom) for the chance, enter an upstart named Fidel Castro (The fabulous George Psomas), by way of Lola (Claire Saunders) a mysterious woman, with an agenda. The CIA (Alan M-L Wager and Ryan Walsh) are involved, as the revolution for freedom is about to go full throttle.

Jonathan Stewart , Cole Grissom

Jonathan Stewart and Cole Grissom Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Part of the problem with this show is, Errol Flynn needs to be sexy, charismatic and swashbucklingly charming. Think in Peter O’Toole in My Favorite Year. He needs to be the perfect match for the ruggedly handsome, egotistical Fidel, played to perfection by George Psomas. It doesn’t help that Mr. Flynn’s songs are the most unappealable in show. Though Mr. Stewart is talented, he just lacks spark. Thankfully Claire Saunders makes up for that in spades. Sydia Cedeno, Alan M-L Wager and Ryan Walsh all have moments to shine and do.

Alan M-L Wager , Ryan Walsh

Alan M-L Wager and Ryan Walsh Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Michael Bello’s direction keeps the show moving, but the book drags and has one two many convoluted moments. Justin Boccitto ‘s choreography is energetic. It is clear that Mr. Boccitto and which ever composer wrote the CIA songs, were fans of Catch Me If You Can, especially “Don’t Break The Rules.”

Errol and Fidel

Errol and Fidel Photo by Jeremy Daniel

The music is by three different composers and it shows, as there are different styles that do not mesh. What succeeds is the Havana sound which is hot, steamy and bankable. No matter how good the music is, what fails completely is the lyrics by Boyd Anderson. They are crammed into musical spaces, making me think the music was written first. The rhyming scheme is also off, with Jackio and Bragadosio as one of the couplets. What is fabulous is the music direction, arrangements & orchestrations by Doug Oberhamer.

Claire Saunders

Claire Saunders Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Starlet Jacobs, scenic designer, Heather Carey’s costume’s but especially Isabella Byrd’s lighting are also well done.

George Psomas

George Psomas and cast Photo by Jeremy Daniel

This is a show with possibilities, but they need to go back to the drawing board and make sure the book and lyrics are coherent, then add the music.  It was nice to discover Mr. Psomas who is now on my radar.

Errol and Fidel: Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 West 42nd St. plays Friday, July 14 at 5:00pm; and Sunday, July 16 at 9:00pm at Playwright’s Horizon.

Events

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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