Joshua Henry and Ciara Renée Photo by Matthew Murphy
Ross Golan’s The Wrong Man at MCC Theater is dark, intense and oh so interesting. Golan’s The Wrong Man has little to do with the 1956 Hitchcock film of same name. The only similarity is that a man is falsely accused.
We meet Duran (Joshua Henry and on certain performances, Ryan Vasquez on others) meets the wrong woman Marianna (Ciara Reneée) in the wrong place at the wrong time. Set in Reno, Nevada, Duran, is unemployed and barely scraping by. He is heartbroken from a past love and not doing well, until he meets Marianna at a bar. The two get involved and she gets pregnant. Turns out Marianna is newly separated and her violent ex the “Man in Black (Ryan Vasquez and on alternate performances Anoop Desai), doesn’t take kindly to his wife’s new alliance. He viciously frames Duran of the murder of a stranger and Marianna.
The story is told through poetic lyrics, haunting melodies, the sensational direction by Tommy Kail and the sinewy choreography by Travis Wall. Where the show is entirely sung through, it is also constantly in motion.
Golan is new to the theatre, but has written hits for Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, Lady Antebellum, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, P!nk, Idina Menzel, and more. His music has a hip hop, jazz infusion sound, that is fresh and full of beat. You will find you body moving to the groove and wanting to absorb it’s rhythms. This show is a new version of a rock opera. The song “Why Me?”, that Duran sings is explosively sung by Henry, that almost garners a standing ovation.
Golan’s music is highlighted by Alex Lacamoire’s orchestrations, which add subtle layerings, to this infectious score.
I love the fact that they have double cast Duran and The Man in Black, though the performances are so strong, the way I saw this show. The story of a man is accused of a crime he did not commit, takes on different meanings when the cast is multi racial.
Duran and other cast members are given a balletic turns. Kyle Robinson and Tilly Evans-Krueger stand out as they dance out the drama before you.
The Wrong Man has two endings and at one point it seems like Duran is hung, but the show goes on. That needs to be cleared up, as it is highly confusing.
Rachel Hauck’s scenic design is a bare stage with folding chairs. Betsy Adams’s lighting sets the mood. The costumes by Jennifer Moeller and Kristin Isolators are shades of grey. Nevin Steinberg’s sound keeps the lyrics crisp.
Tommy Kail, Joshua Henry, Ross Golan, Alex Lacamoire, Travis Wall, Ryan Vasquez and the entire cast of MCC’s The Wrong Man have given us a look at musical theatre that is thrilling, but needs nurturing.
The Wrong Man: MCC Theater, 511 West 52nd St. until November 17th.