Monday, November 5, 2018

Weekly Margin 2018, W44: The Prom, Mike Birbiglia's THE NEW ONE

10/29/18: The Prom
What: A new musical from Drowsy Chaperone scribe/star Bob Martin (and Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar), about a group of narcissistic theater actors desperate to reform their image, who glom onto a manageably-sized social justice battle: a teenage lesbian in Indiana who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom.
And? It's not perfect, and it definitely paints nearly everything with a broad brush, both the pastiche and the earnestness. But it's a funny time, with dynamic Nicholaw choreography, and some stellar work from Brooks Ashmanskas. I saw it on a special Monday night preview where the casts from Nicholaw's other three shows currently running were invited (Aladdin, Mean Girls, and Book of Mormon), so the audience was full of supportive insiders, laughing at all the theater jokes (which means I don't necessarily know how everything will play in front of a civilian audience).

The cast. Photo by Deen van Meer.

11/01/18: Mike Birbiglia's THE NEW ONE
What: It's the new Mike Birbiglia show, you guys.
And? He's such a good storyteller. And I forget what a good storyteller he is, because the non-Mike Birbiglia roles he often plays are ineffectual prats, but he as an actual human is much smarter than that, and it shows in his original work. He's able to synthesize every piece of what seems at first like a disjointed train-of-thought narrative, in a really satisfying way. I'm deliberately not getting into the content here, because it's more fun to discover it as the story goes on.

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