“You walk into a show and hope you don’t fall asleep watching the plot. You walk into a show and find you’re watching the same plot a lot. So many points of view, though. Couldn’t they write a new show? Probably not, it’s all been done.” And it’s the fact that it’s all been done that makes Damascus Theatre Company and The City of Gaithersburg’s hilarious production of The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!) written by Eric Rockwell and Joanne Bogart so universally entertaining.
From the most die-hard theatregoer who’s the only one in the room to spot the Dear World reference, to the guy who maybe heard the Jesus Christ Superstar album once a while ago but tagged along because someone had an extra ticket, it is guaranteed that everyone who sees this production will thoroughly enjoy spotting all the winks and nods to classic musical theater that make up the show. Each of the five acts is done in a different style that pays homage to seven of the most famous musical theater greats: Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Kander and Ebb. Liberally sprinkled throughout are numerous references to other shows, including some more recent ones slipped in by this particular cast themselves.
When you have a show with such a small cast, it can quickly become very clear who the weak link is. In this show however, there were no weak links, just four tremendously strong actors who worked together seamlessly.
Bill Brown plays Big Willy/Billy/William/Bill/Villy, the Hero, with endearing charm and a gorgeous singing voice.
Jidder/Jitter/Mr. Jitters/Phantom Jidder/Jutter is performed by Micky Goldstein who effortlessly embodies the various shades of villainy called for throughout his turn as the show’s Villain.
Ellie Borzilleri portrays June/Jeune/Junie Faye/Junita/Juny. Her sparkling blue eyes and expressive face bring another level of quality to her performance as the show’s Ingénue that is further enhanced by a lovely singing voice that alternates between sweetness and power.
As Mother Abby/Abby/Auntie Abby/Abigail Von Schtarr/Fraulein Abby, Cheryl J. Campo is pure gold. Her expressions are priceless, her presence is compelling, and her singing voice is remarkable.
Director Keith Tittermary is a multitalented wizard of theatre, who not only has assembled a top-notch cast and crew to execute a clever vision, but also provides the musical accompaniment throughout. Additionally, Tittermary is responsible for the show’s projections which alternate between informative and hilarious.
Continuing the theme of multitalented contributors, Megan McNellage not only serves as Assistant Director, make-up designer, and choreographer, she appears onstage as June/Jeune/Junie Faye/Junita/Juny at select performances.
Rounding out this stellar production team are Technical Director/Lighting Designer Rick Swink, Sound Designer Vitol Wiacek, Master Carpenter Jim Korte, Props and Costume Designers Elli Swink and Carol Boyle, with set construction by Jim Korte, Bruce Clark, and Richard Ridge.
Bill Brown’s character says it best: “Come see the spectacle, come see the show!”
Running Time: 90 minutes, with one intermission.
The Musical of Musicals (The Musical) plays through September 27, 2015 at Damascus Theatre Company, in partnership with the City of Gaithersburg, performing at The Arts Barn Theatre – 311 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For tickets call the box office at (301) 258-6394, or purchase them online.
‘The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)’ Takes Center Stage at The Arts Barn by Amy McGuire.