At the performance of Gettin The Band Togetherthe show suffered not one, but two sound glitches. The first one sounded like the theatre was about to combust into flames. The show was stopped, and we were told glitches happen. Really? Then at the curtain call, bows were done in silent because it seems the problem escalated to no sound. Unfortunately, that is not the only problem with this “totally original musical.”
I had heard that before the curtain rises producer and co-book writer Ken Davenport, does a warm-up stating, among other things, we are about to see a totally original musical. Swing, Scott Richard Foster gave the speech, but the speech – which is credited in the playbill – put the show into amateur hour. Not only that, but if this is a totally original musical, can someone explain to me the resemblances to School of Rock, Duck Dynasty and The Real Housewives of New Jersey?
As the show starts, we meet 40-year-old birthday boy, Mitch Papadopolous (Mitchell Jarvis), who has been fired from his New York stockbroking job. He retreats home to New Jersey and his mom, Sharon (Marilu Henner) where he reconnects with his former bandmates. First up is Bart (Jay Klaitz), an overweight, scruffy math teacher who barely knows math; Robbie (Manu Narayan), who works in his father’s dermatology practice; and Sully (Paul Whitty), a cop who has other plans than becoming a detective.
Mitch’s arch-enemy, Tygen (Brandon Williams, an Alan Rickman look alike), a rocker who controls much of the real estate in town, forecloses on Sharon and Bart’s homes. Tygen, who holds grudges, sees a way to win a band trophy he lost to Mitch years ago. Tygen challenges Mitch and his band to a rematch with the promise that if Mitch wins he will stop the foreclosures.
Mitch reconnects with his old high school flame, Dani (Kelli Barrett), who is now dating Tygen. Sully gets paired up with the female cop, Roxanne, and Bart hooks up with Mitch’s mom, Sharon, and gets a song “Bart’s Confession” which talks about S&M practices and sex with Mitch’s mom, to Mitch.
The cast is talented and passable, but everyone seems like the average joe breaking the 4th wall, except Ryan Duncan as Ken Styler. The one funny moment and the only time the show breaks the monotony is when Duncan plays this pathetically sad lounge singer in a dive bar. He is given the worst costume and wig and yet Duncan manages to act past this bad attire and win the audience’s hearts as he breaks down into sobs and a complete mental breakdown.
Davenport and The Grundleshotz’s book was developed “through a series of improvised rehearsals” and is just crass, vulgar and uninteresting.
The score by Mark Alan seems based on Bon Jovi’s material and ballads, and none of them are remotely memorable.
John Rando’s direction keeps the show moving.
The sets by Derek McLane look like Dagwood cartoons and seem out of date and unfortunately, so does the entire musical.
Gettin’ the Band Back Together: Belasco Theatre, 111 W 44th St.