Alaska & Jeremy: On Golden Girls

Alaska was the winner of the second Ru Paul’s All Star Drag Race.  If you don’t know what that is, “regular” theater reviews will return later this week.  As stated in this show, Jeremy is not only her accompanist on the piano but also friend for fourteen years.  This performance was an homage to all things Golden Girls.  Alaska asked, “How many people here have seen every episode of the Golden Girls at least twice?”  A show of hands.  The answer was five.  Everyone else got an apology.

All the girls – Sofia, Blanche, Rose and Dorothy – were spotlighted in drag, naturally, lovingly skewered with musical numbers and an abundance of comedy.  There were trivia questions and sing-a-longs during the costume changes, aka cosmic channelings.  The one hour plus act was hilarious (even heartfelt during the Rose segment) and over the top entertaining.  This is the second Alaska show I’ve seen, the first being Cher and Cher Alike, which, unless you are truly under a rock, you can guess the plotline.  Two for two.  That’s a star.

www.spincycle.com

Lucky (Dixon Place)

Dixon Place describes itself as an artistic incubator which supports artists by producing original works of theater, dance, music, puppetry, circus arts, literature and visual art at all stages of development.  I head downtown once or twice a year to see what’s on.  The last time I went, the infamous play Sex by Mae West was excerpted and performed by women who, for various reasons, had been actual sex workers.  After the performance, they took questions and had candid conversations about their lives, the historical significance of that play and women’s rights.  Not for everyone but definitely made for thoughtful conversation afterward.

Last night’s less serious offering was Lucky by the Atlas Circus Company, a troupe formed by former students at Muhlenberg College.  We follow Lucky as he travels to the big city and stumbles, trips and falls from one misadventure to the next, told through slapstick and circus skills.  Lucky is best described as a combination of mime, Three Stooges tomfoolery, athleticism and magic tricks.  As such, the four artists present an old style of eccentric clowning with no real words spoken (but sounds) and musical accompaniment (piano, recorded music).  Think stolen briefcase hijinks and you will get the picture.  Two performers had inspired bits throughout while the other two didn’t really have enough to do, despite some hilarious physicality.  In Lucky, Atlas Circus is combining circus with a theatrical narrative.  A nice diversion at downtown prices.

www.dixonplace.org

Really Rosie (Encores)

I have no recollection of this 1975 show despite the fact that Carole King wrote the music in a collaboration with Maurice Sendak, who supplied the music and lyrics.  Really Rosie is based on a number of his children’s books from the early 1960s.  Originally a television special, this musical was then expanded and given an off-Broadway run in 1980.  Avenue P in Brooklyn is the setting and young Rosie is a big dreamer who essentially spends the entire show corralling the neighborhood kids into pretending to make her fantasy movies, where she naturally is the star.  I know Sendak can be dark but maybe this is just not my cup of Ovaltine.  This giggly, sugary sweet musical references children’s deaths through kidnapping, choking on a chicken bone or getting chopped into pieces before being placed in a shoebox.

The best songs were “Avenue P” and “Chicken Soup with Rice” but unfortunately they came toward the end of the show.  After viewing, I googled the score and, interestingly, both of those songs were in the middle originally.  Hard to tell if the many kids in the audience were engaged completely in the cavernous City Center.  When I happily departed to the subway, I heard a mom gushing over the performance and reminiscing about listening to the soundtrack as a young girl.  Really Rosie might need that kind of connection to be admired.

www.nycitycenter.org

New York Musical Festival (NYMF Part 7)

Freedom Riders:  The Civil Rights Musical

I was born in 1961, the year civil rights activists called Freedom Riders rode interstate buses to the southern United States in order to challenge the non-enforcement of a Supreme Court ruling that segregated buses were unconstitutional.  The southern states ignored the ruling and the federal government did nothing to enforce them.  The Freedom Rides put a national spotlight on  this issue.  This was violent, risky stuff.  In Birmingham, Alabama, for example, police cooperated with the Ku Klux Klan and allowed mobs to attack the riders.  In Montgomery, ambulances refused to take the injured to hospitals.  Riders were jailed and, when some of them would not stop singing freedom songs while incarcerated, prison officials took away their mattresses, sheets and toothbrushes.  How big was this movement?  President Kennedy, his brother Robert, then Attorney General, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are all figures in this history.  Rich material for a struggle that is unfortunately not over.

So why did I not completely embrace this show?  Three reasons:  the book, the lyrics and the presentation style.  There are 26 scenes in a two hour musical.  In order to move this story along, there is a surface level component at work, with so many characters drawn in two dimensional sketches, at best.  Like another NYMF entry about oppression, A Wall Apart, lyrics are repeated over and over again, but even more so in Freedom Riders.  There are some fine songs throughout although not necessarily grounded in this particular history.  Relentless anthems continually sung directly at the audience gives the entire piece a civics lesson feel.  Furthermore, the cast (including the ensemble)performs far too often as if it were auditioning for The Voice.  One can admire the talent but I felt disconnected to the people and the deep, troubling story being brought to life.

Georama:  An American Panorama Told On Three Miles of Canvas

Opening with the song, “Nobody Knows,” Georama tells the now obscure story of John Banvard, a 19th century painter known for his giant panoramas of the Mississippi River.  He sketched the river while on a boat, eventually painting a canvas that grew to twelve feet high and one half mile long, although it was advertised as a “three mile canvas.”  In 1948, the magazine Scientific America published a piece under “New Inventions” describing and illustrating Banvard’s mechanism for displaying a moving panorama.  Georama uses its own screen projected panorama as the backdrop for this story, moving us from the river to larger towns and cities.

As luck would have it, Georama was my last musical from this festival and clearly one of my favorites.  What’s to love?  24 songs in 90 minutes which add layers to the strong book and help develop its characters, performed by two musicians who only play piano, cello, violin and guitar.  The music feels authentic to the period and yet contains a fine example where inserting a whimsical musical comedy number out of nowhere completely works.   The four person cast, led by P.J. Griffith and Jillian Louis, is simply excellent.  One of Georama’s big themes revolves around art and the truth, or whether the line between truth and lies has become increasingly blurred, reflected in “Art is a Lie.”  This musical is even timely.  What’s not to love?

Theater Reviews From My Seat  – BEST of FEST

At the closing celebration, awards will be presented to the best of the festival.  Now that I’ve started this blog, I am looking forward to how the reviews from my seat will stack up against the panel of judges.  Should be fun.  My full production favorites are listed below.  For the record, I did not see Errol and Fidel, My Dear Watson or The Time Machine.  Let’s hope they have a future life so I will have the opportunity to check them out.

My votes for Best of Fest, in alphabetical order:

Backbeard

Georama:  An American Panorama Told On Three Miles of Canvas

Matthew McConaughey vs the Devil

The Goree All Girl String Band

The breath of material in this year’s NYMF was outstanding.  1961 Berlin Wall.  1940s Las Vegas.  1961 the segregated southern U.S.  1800s Mississippi River.  1969 New Orleans.  897 Rome.  1940s Texas women’s prison.  16th century Puerto Rico.  1961 B-movie.  Contemporary offerings including mommies, kids and the answer to the question on everyone’s mind:  how did Matthew McConaughey win an Oscar?  And very hairy, very smelly pirates.  All at $27.50 per show.  Alright, alright, alright.

www.nymf.org

New York Musical Festival (NYMF Part 6)

Backbeard

Based upon his children’s picture book series, Matthew McElligott co-authored the book and lyrics to this musical about pirates of the most silly kind.  While Backbeard himself is very, very hairy and very, very smelly, the pirate danger can be summed up in the song lyric, “he’ll give you a pirate wedgie.”  After a raucous birthday party finds Backbeard’s clothes ruined, he turns to two tailors who give him a colorful, non-piratey makeover, complete with a pig rather than a bird perched on his shoulder.  Winning acceptance for standing up for who you are, told through song, dance, comedy and swordplay, is the big theme.  This is definitely kid’s stuff but I laughed out loud and the children in the audience seemed to be having a great time.  The songs fit the story and riffed somewhat on the typical pirate songs forever stuck in your head.  Lyrics were clever and not dumbed down for the young folks.

I imagine Backbeard must be a fun book to read with your child and that is exactly what was put onstage.  Kudos to the director, Michael Musial, who also wrote the score and co-wrote the lyrics.  Everyone in the cast seemed 100% committed to the show in terms of tone and style, which made the material truly come to life.  Jimmy Kieffer (Backbeard) was hilarious and the whole largely non-equity cast nailed the comedic storybook effect like seasoned pros.  Disney could take this piece and run with it.  Well executed and a nice surprise.

Motherfreakinghood!

From the author’s note:  Whether you are a tiger mom, helicopter mom or free-range mom, we’ve all said things like “Leave the cigarette butt on the ground” and “the Tooth Fairy must have been too busy to come last night.”  If that sentence made you nod in appreciation, this show may be for you.  Packed with 22 songs over 90 minutes, Motherfreakinghood! is the musical revue of three women from pregnancy test through high school graduation.  A kitchen sink of song titles such as:  “Ballad of the Post Partum,”  “Poo-Wop Playground,”  “Hormones on Parade” and, when I needed it, “Last Freaking Song.”  The musical style is sort of doo-wop, girl group but occasionally musical theater inspired, like  “Friends to the End,”  clearly indebted to “Friendship” from Anything Goes.

Does this show work?  As an off-Broadway revue, perhaps yes.  Target audience:  moms who need a girl’s night out, some Chardonnay, or two Cosmopolitans, or both.

Ben, Virginia and Me:  The Liberace Musical

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Liberace was one of the highest paid entertainers in the world, having conquered Las Vegas during its meteoric rise in the desert.  Liberace’s three brand symbols were the piano, a candelabra and flamboyant costumes.  Underneath the glitter was a closeted gay man who was so effeminate it is hard to imagine anyone was fooled.  Ben, Virginia and Me is a musical combining the stories of Liberace’s career and personal life trajectory with the gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and his girlfriend, Virginia, who built the Flamingo Hotel for the mob.  As musicals can do, this story is very loosely based on facts: all three of them were in Las Vegas, there was an encounter where Bugsy offered Liberace a job at his hotel and Liberace’s public humiliation in London by the Daily Mail resulting in a libel suit.

Does it matter than the core of the show, the relationship between the three titular characters, is best classified as historical fiction?  Not really.  The show opens with “The Fabulous Flamingo,” complete with showgirls and glitz.  Not only do we get a healthy dose of classic Las Vegas spectacle but also a little slice of history of two of its early famous icons:  the Flamingo Hotel and “Mr. Showmanship.”  As Liberace, Samuel Floyd delivers a fully rounded performance of a complicated individual, never slipping into caricature.  The best moment in the show came near the end with “Beautiful Man,” a elegantly staged memory song where Liberace reminisces about his early relationship with Rock Hudson.

Although Ben, Virginia and Me is always watchable, it is overstuffed to the point that Virginia’s death is just a throwaway line to wrap up a main character’s story arc.  The real fun here was the vast parade of costumes designed by Kurt Alger:  showgirls with headresses, 1940s mob suits, and increasingly ruffled, feathered frocks for our flashy, garish pianist.   The cast even had curtain call costumes where everyone donned their finest sparkle.  Within a NYMF budget, very impressive indeed.  There’s a big show concept inside Ben, Virginia and Me, perhaps leaning more towards Me.

www.nymf.org

New York Musical Festival (NYMF Part 5)

A Wall Apart

Graham Russell is the singer-songwriter of the Australian soft rock duo, Air Supply, a very successful band here in the 1980s with songs like All Out of Love and The One That You Love.  A Wall Apart transports us to Berlin in 1961 right before the wall is erected.  Families, careers and relationships are about to be turned upside down with the erection of the wall, eliminating all travel between East and West Berlin.

Esther, the American/German love interest, is a professed fan of West Side Story and unsurprisingly A Wall Apart mirrors the “opposite side of the tracks doomed love affair.”  The book nicely develops a family history of three brothers who are split on their east/west loyalties.  Unfortunately, we have to endure song after song of repetitive lyrics.  Lines are underlined so often that you cannot get them out of your head.  During intermission, the people in front of me starting singing “We’re Having A Baby,” the Act I closing number.  Actually, they only sang those four exact words, having just heard them repeated over and over.  Given the interesting premise here, I was underwhelmed by songs titled:  “Do You Mind If I Adore You,” and “I Want To Be In Love With You.”  To be fair, a sappy and romantic Air Supply fan I am not.

The principals in the cast were game and did everything in their power to put this material over, even the jarring transition midway through Act II to a dead narrator.  The set design and screen projections of Berlin were very effective, elucidating the harshness of the wall.  I’ll avoid discussing the odd choreography which was inserted far too often.  You can have a good story and talented performers, but a good musical must have good tunes.  Underneath the lyrics, however, there were some nice melodies.  The verdict:  a bit of a slog overall but a promising idea.

Peace, Love and Cupcakes:  The Musical

Is it possible to fairly review a show that sells cupcakes in the lobby for No Bullying charities?  Let’s try.  Based on a mother/daughter written book, Peace, Love and Cupcakes addresses eighth grade angst with songs like “Different,” “Kylie Carson Doesn’t Belong Here,” and “How Do You Deal With a Monster?”  Kylie is a new student trying to fit into a new school, dreading every “Monday Morning.”  To make matters worse, the popular (and very mean) young ladies, ingeniously named the BLAH girls, are in full torment mode.  Kylie forms a cupcake club and, as a result, there are lessons learned through songs sung on the way to peace and love.

In the performance I caught, Kylie was played by soon-to-be high school sophomore Carrie Beck, the co-author of the original book and also this musical.  Ms. Beck was simply excellent in the role and the rest of the large cast were fun to watch.  It was especially nice to see all the performers putting a spin on their different character’s personalities, enriching the viewing experience.  I would recommend tightening this to one act as the intermission drained the momentum somewhat and Act II is short with not enough new songs.  This is a kid’s show for sure but it is easy to imagine this musical performed in middle schools everywhere.  I think it was possible to fairly review a show that sells cupcakes in the lobby.  Whew.

Generation Me

Following the middle school scenario in Peace, Love and Cupcakes, Generation Me is a significantly darker offering.  Although this show also opens with a Monday number, “Monday Morning/Revelation,” by song’s end Milo Reynolds (Milo Manheim) hangs himself.  The rest of the show is told in a series of flashbacks, unraveling the mystery of why he decided to end his life.  In the program, the book and lyrics writer, Julie Soto, noted that she was trying to create age appropriate and challenging material for teen actors.  Clearly she accomplished that but at least my journey to that conclusion was decidedly mixed.

By structuring the show in flashbacks, we alternate sadness and despair with teen angst, clichés and a cornucopia of social issues.  An example: right after the suicide, Milo and his best friend have a number called “The Bra Song” about learning to unhook a bra before going on a date.  Not that the song wasn’t funny, it was such a dramatic swing in tone that seemed odd.  Then the first Act piled on the  gossiping and severe meanness but in a way that felt like a celebration of such behavior.  (The cutter in the class is known in social media as #SLICE.)  By intermission, frankly, I was completed put off.  The couple sitting to my left did not return after intermission and the young lady next to me probably said’ “Oh my God” a half  dozen times, often then burying her face in her hands.  Apparently I was not suffering alone.

Perseverance, however, can have its rewards.  Before the middle of Act II, the machinery that swung repeatedly from one extreme to the next calmed down and a slew of very nice, character driven ballads emerged which put emotion, grief and heft to the forefront.  To the credit of Ms. Soto, I was impressed toward the end of the show when I realized how many of these characters had meaningful parts, with performances and dialogue to match.  The flashback structure of the show may be what I struggled with here.  Letting out some of the teenage musical comedy hijinks (perhaps better termed as abuse) earlier before throwing the audience directly into the suicide might help.

www.nymf.org

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin (Encores)

First performed in 2000, The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin was written by Kirsten Childs, a former Broadway dancer and traces the life of Viveca (also known as Bubbly) from the early 1960s in Los Angeles to the mid-1990s in New York City.  Nikki M. James takes on the part originated by LaChanze and is excellent as usual.  The course is set for us to watch a girl grow up and deal with racial prejudices from playing with her white doll to a cop profiling her friend to Director Bob asking her to play a scene “less white.”  Yes, Director Bob is a caricature of Bob Fosse (amusingly embodied by Josh Davis).

By intermission, I found the show very cartoonish which I assume was on purpose.  Bubbly could possibly be a distant relative to You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown both in terms of tone and simplistic life teachings, with dashes of edginess added to make it seem less, well … bubbly.  Then in Act II, we audition for shows, have sex (Julius Thomas III, gorgeous R&B vocals), listen to Granny’s advice and conclude with a serious revelation.  A reasonably good version of so-so material.

www.nycitycenter.org

New York Musical Festival (NYMF Part 4)

Play Like a Winner

Describing itself as a satire of girl’s soccer, this musical asks:  “How far would you go for your child?”  We are in the promising land of soccer moms, mean girls and Costco snacks.  Play Like a Winner opens with the coach lying dead on center stage impaled with a corner flag.  One of the soccer moms steps forward to tell the story.  Nice start.  What follows, however, is fairly generic songs and characterizations.  Two songs, “Sacrifice” and “Snack Mom” nearly achieve the goal of entertaining while poking fun at the absurdity of the soccer mom world.  As Coach Nick, Nicolas Dromard (Jersey Boys, Mary Poppins) delivers the best effort here:  the character is both exaggerated and believable, which makes it work.

The lyrics range from bland rhymes to overuse of the word “fuck” and even one mother singing to another that she is a “cunt.”  In another scene, the mother dons some leather to …. oh, never mind, who cares?  Shock value is not always an effective substitute for wit, satire or comedy.  I throw the flag and yell “offside.”

The Goree All Girl String Band

In the early 1940s, a group of women serving time in the Goree State Farm prison in Texas form a country and western band.  The goal is to appear on the popular radio show, “Thirty Minutes Behind the Walls” and maybe, if they are lucky, get paroled.  Based on the true story, The Goree All Girl String Band is a winner with the finest orchestrations I have heard thus far in this year’s NYMF.

The music here is all original compositions and there are a pile of great songs, the first of which is the Act I closer, “Ridin’ That Train,” when we finally get to the radio show.  In the stronger Act II, we are treated with numerous well-written and sung character-driven songs which add dramatic heft to the proceedings.  An excellent cast and extremely fluid direction pull this whole show together.  The set is essentially a few ladders, stools, a radio and a microphone with some background lighting.  Simple yet perfect.

I expect a future for The Goree All Girl String Band as the show is so good already and seemingly would have major appeal to a wide audience.  My only thought would be to spend a little more time filling in the back stories of some of the band members.  The two leads are well-developed; we could use a few songs to get to know the other girls, especially in Act I.  Perhaps that is a quibble but this musical has all the elements to reach even greater heights.

www.nymf.org

New York Musical Festival (NYMF Part 3)

The Cadaver Synod

The Cadaver Synod is based on the bizarre and compellingly fascinating true story of Pope Stephen VII who, in 897, conducted a posthumous ecclesiastical trial of a former predecessor, Pope Formosus.  Stephen ordered the corpse be exhumed nine months after burial and brought to the papal court for judgment.  With the corpse propped up and dressed on a throne, a deacon was appointed to answer for the deceased pontiff.  Crazy shit for sure, but a musical?  At NYMF, thankfully, the answer is “yes, let’s do it.”

Act I takes us to medieval Rome and the Catholic Church.  With a rock music score, we are immersed in a world that had “25 Popes in 100 years; eight in the last nine years.”  Plotting, scheming, fake news, abuse of power … check, it’s all here.  After the trial ends, Act II attempts to explain why it happened.  No spoiler alert needed.  The authors concocted an unlikely but not impossible scenario, aided by the abundant freedoms afforded in musical theater.  Let’s just say heresy of the most overwrought kind.

The book was stronger for me than the score.  The trial scene was clearly a commentary on our times where facts are less relevant than our desired outcomes.  At the center of all of this macabre mayhem in the role of Pope Stephen was David Larsen (Billy Elliot, American Idiot and the best song in Hands on a Hardbody) who played the role as a psychotic Robert Plant (lead singer of Led Zeppelin).  Mr. Larsen fully committed to every inch of the role no matter what turns the show took – good, bad, or wildly off the rails, especially at the end.

If The Cadaver Synod has a next life, Act II needs more heft and, like what happened to Pope Stephen VII in the histories, a strangulation scene to end it all.

Temple of the Souls

When Columbus discovered the Americas, the Taino were the native people living in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico.  Temple of the Souls takes place after the Spanish have conquered, killed or enslaved the majority of the locals (although in reality disease was also a big factor).  The “temple” of the title refers to the caves and contained paintings where the deceased souls of the Taino people keep watch over their tribes.

Our hero and heroine are Guario, a Taino boy, and Amada, the daughter of a conquistador.  We are in Romeo and Juliet territory here, with a significant dose of Disney thrown in (the villain is a darker version of Gaston in Beauty and the Beast).  As the leads, Andres Quintero and Noellia Hernandez have the best moments in the show and their chemistry is effortless and heartfelt.

To be honest, it took me a little time to settle into this show.  But I did because the melodies of the score were strong throughout.  Kudos to the Projection Designer (Jan Hartley) whose back screen projections were excellent, from the town fiesta party to the mountains, caves and stars transporting the show into the heavens.  Overall, the most complete story arc so far for me this NYMF.

The Fourth Messenger

What if Buddha were a woman, living in our times?  That’s the tag line for The Fourth Messenger, written by two women, one of whom had the spark of an idea on a meditation retreat sixteen years ago.  Mama Sid (Nancy Anderson, ethereal and fantastic) is a modern day “awakened one” with a worldwide following and a Time magazine cover story.  A determined young journalist decides to unearth and expose Mama Sid’s secrets to make her own career.

The Fourth Messenger explores Mama Sid’s followers, her past, her present and the complexities of life that is the human experience.  With a strong score, interesting book and thoughtful lyrics combined with committed, almost mystical central performances, I was totally captivated and emotionally invested.  Nicely done.

 

 

New York Musical Festival (NYMF Part 2)

The Body Politic

Presented as a Beta Musical (more than a reading, less than a full production), The Body Politic is an opera style musical about a transgender man who emigrates to the United States at the height of the Afghan War and settles in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The show premiered in 2016, one month after North Carolina passed the “bathroom bill.”  In response, a stripped down version of the show was then presented in the North Carolina State Legislature, apparently becoming the first opera or musical in American history to do so.  Quite a backstory to consider when viewing this work.

Iphis, an Afghani girl, has been raised as a boy in the tribal tradition known as “bacha posh” that had a resurgence under Taliban rule when women were kept virtually under house arrest.  Raising a girl as a boy makes her more useful to the family as a boy can escort females in public and get a job.  The twist here is that Iphis discovers that she identifies as a boy and does not want to be a girl when she reaches puberty.  The characters are Young Iphis and his Afghan mother, the older transgendered Iphis and his North Carolina mother, and Iphis’ best friend, a drag queen.  The structure of the show takes us through both journeys simultaneously and is very effective.

The music is ambitious, complex and clearly indebted to Sondheim with a healthy dose of Middle Eastern rhythms and inflections.  All of the show is sung and there are a number of gorgeous songs including “Peace and a Picket Fence,” “Sola/Fly” and “Snow.”  I can envision many artists taking their stab at these and putting their own spin on them.  At its best, the score is lush and poetic.  But like many scores that force all dialogue into music, there is the inevitable overkill.  Or is it listening discomfort?  I would prefer a little quiet conversation between some of the songs to develop deeper emotional connections to the characters (especially Eugene, the best friend) and there are definitely scenes available for that treatment.  The performers and demanding vocals were impressive throughout.

Presented in one Act, the show clocked in at 1:45 with an ending that seemed a bit rushed to wrap things up, perhaps due to NYMF time constraints.  Adding my two cents: break The Body Politic into two Acts and reconsider singing nearly every single word.  As I left the theater, however, I needed time to process what I saw and heard, in order to discuss all the depth, emotion and details.  A solid offering and a great example of what this festival does so well. 

Numbers Nerds

Numbers Nerds is appropriately titled.  A girl’s high school math team from Waukesha, Wisconsin participates in a Regional Math competition to try to get to Nationals.  Difficult math problems and teen drama abound, but of the relatively light-hearted, mean but not so mean that we can’t have resolution and belt out together “I’m a numbers nerd …” at the end in celebration of not only nerdiness, but healing, resolution and acceptance.  The program notes that the intended market for this show is high school, college and community theaters.  There are funny bits for sure but hard to pinpoint the target audience here given the Carson Daly-era pop cultural references (albeit very funny), the Eliza Doolittle references (less so) and the fairly standard issue teen angst (unicorns, Catholic school girl uniforms, popular girl cliques… you get the drift).  What about the score for Numbers Nerds?  Hard to say as much of the singing was so big (and dare I say pitchy – I feel mean doing so!).  Perhaps more modest voices in a high school with less amplification would solve the equation.  A fun idea but a bit too long for my tastes.

 www.nymf.org