“Who will become the next Crossover champion?” That’s the big question put forth by the effervescent Lila Selleck, played to the silly max by Annie Fang (InterAct Theatre’s Man of God), the flummoxed host of the newest singing competition show that is at the center of Green Light Group‘s new show, Crossover: A New Pop Musical that is premiering this month online. In the streaming pandemic world that we find ourselves somewhat trapped in, this new musical tries to enliven the format with a competing artistic twist. With an original book and score by Danielle E. Moore, and directed by Amanda Pasquini (Penn State’s Of Mice and Men), Crossover circles itself around the drama inside a televised singing contest; much like the more polished American Idol or The Voice, minus a few celebrity judges, and the competing artists that face off with one another, at least initially. The four female singers must utilize all of their skill and expertise in both writing and performing across numerous different genres, in the hopes to win the title of Crossover Champion.
It’s a two-hour sing song premise that seems ideally suited for a digital presentation, giving the four young women; Taylor J Mitchell (KCAC’s All Lives Don’t Matter) as Regina (“Reggie”) Carlyle, Boris Dansberry (Arden Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Maxine “Max” Green, Chelsea Cylinder (Broadway Theatre Of Pitman’s Peter Pan) as KC Parker, and Ali Walker (…Spelling Bee) as Hallie Harper, ample chance to shine and enlighten. When the four young hopefuls find themselves in a surprising tie in the regional competition, they decide, against their initial impulses, to rally together to form and compete on the national broadcast as the all-girl singing group, ‘Four-Way Tie‘. Each of the four come to the streaming table with some pretty good acting chops and some unique vocal stylings. They bond and fight their way through the bumpy uphill road to fame and infamy, with a special appearance by a famous rock star, Shea Stone, portrayed by Donovan Lockett (Theatre Horizon’s White) who throws a few twists and turns on their journey up to the stars. Weaving in and around the four is their one and only competitor, the solo male presence in this production, Chris Murphy Smith (Upper Darby Mainstage’s Big Fish) as the supposedly seductive but annoying Jack Tyler. Naturally the ladies have to learn a lot about one another and themselves as they ride that road to stardom. The obstacles are numerous, and the challenges neatly devised, with the final product arriving at the destination pretty well intact.
Crossover works hard to bridge and unpack a number of gender and sexuality issues that are both timely and uniquely crafted, while also throwing in some standard dealings with love and familial issues a plenty. This is all while singing out a score that tries hard to achieve. The songs find their way through the landscapes of dance pop, country, R&B, and rap, fairly successfully, although not remarkably, challenging the vocal capabilities of the artists, particularly when the four try their best to harmonize. Mitchell’s “Heartbreaker/Traitor” sings out the strongest of the bunch, getting the closest to a standout, as the cast, as a whole, try their best to deliver the show’s somewhat overly simplified message, that “love between women, romantic or otherwise, is something to sing about.” I feel you, although I wasn’t quite with you all the way.
The New York City premiere of Crossover: A New Pop Musical is being streaming Saturday, December 12th at 8:00pm as part of the 2020 Rogue Theater Festival. Crossover will be presented virtually as a live stream. Tickets are $12.00 and are available through the Rogue Theater Festival’s ShowTix4U Page. A link to the performance will be sent with each ticket purchase.
The show is produced by Chelsea Cylinder and Danielle E. Moore. Moore, the Writer, Composer/Lyricist, Co-Producer, Music Director of Crossover, is an NYC-based writer and producer, and is also the Executive Director of Green Light Group Productions, a production firm devoted to the creative development and production of new works across stage, screen, and new media whose New York City credits include GATSBY, a new musical adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, as well as an original musical about the life of Audrey Hepburn.
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