Now that the first season of the post-apocalyptic podcast The World to Come is complete and available for binge listening on all popular streaming platforms, members of the audio cast and team appeared live and in person to perform a selection of songs from the futuristic NYC-inspired saga of “Fiveboro” for a one-night-only stand-alone concert at The Green Room 42. And it was epic!
For fans of the podcast who followed the dystopian narrative and its paradigmatic characters through its inaugural twelve installments, it was a welcome opportunity to connect the voices with the faces. For those who weren’t familiar with the story – created during the pandemic shutdown by the brilliant trio of librettist and lyricist Erik Ransom, composer and orchestrator Andy Peterson, and director Rachel Klein, and produced by Iconoclast Theatre Collective and David Treatman Creative – it offered a fun-filled high-energy night of original staged songs, with spirited narration that filled in the plot points and connected the music, and had the audience laughing out loud at the parodic humor and cheering real loud for the powerhouse performances.
Directed by Klein and emceed by the hilarious audio cast members Remy Germinario and Kate Hoover, the world-premiere event was framed in the device of their pretentious characters, the Knickerbockers, welcoming the audience and representatives from all five factions of the embattled Fiveboro to a gala festival, where they could come together in fellowship. Ransom kicked off the show with an in-character voiceover segment followed by an on-stage opening summary of the podcast that set the scene for the titular number, “The World to Come,” which he sang with the full company of talents from Broadway and beyond (Germinario and Hoover, along with Justin Sargent, Marissa Rosen, Tara Martinez, Em Grosland, Sandra Marante, Luis Villabon, Tsebiyah Mishael Derry, Jonathan Hoover, and Joanna Carpenter).
In their roles as the quirky citizens of the distinctive factions, spoofing the predominant socio-economic brackets of NYC’s five boroughs, the actors wore personality-defining clothing and adopted their recognizable speech patterns and demeanors. And the set list of sixteen numbers by Ransom and Peterson underscored the diversity of the characters with a wide range of musical genres and styles, from vintage razzle dazzle (“Those Good Old Golden Days”) and Broadway showtune (“Resurrecting Broadway”) to wistful ballad (“Take Heart”), Latin beat (“In a Telenovela”), comic ditties (“Wake Up!” and “Hot Goss”), and rock, punk, and alternative indie anthems (“Things I’ve Never Done,” “The Fappening,” and “The Paper Plague”). All were delivered to perfection by the blockbuster vocalists, backed by the versatile top-notch five-piece band of Peterson, Mike Lunoe, Debbie Christine Tjong, Michael Ferrara, and Mike Rosengarten.
If you missed this highly entertaining condensed concert version of The World to Come, you can hope it will come to the stage again in the future. In the meantime, be sure to stream the musical podcast.
Running Time: 70 minutes, without intermission.
The World to Come: The Songs of Fiveboro played on Monday, October 25, at 9:30 pm, at The Green Room 42, 570 Tenth Avenue, 4th floor (inside YOTEL), NYC. To listen to the entire first season of The World to Come podcast, go online. Streaming is free, but donations are welcome.