July 27th, 2018

storyteller doll

Two More Fringe Shows - with Music!

Celebrity Death Watch: Christian Menn designed the Zakim Bridge in Boston. Elbert Howard co-founded the Black Panther Party. Sergio Marchionne oversaw the merger between Chrysler and Fiat. Donald Kaul co-founded RAGBRAI, a famous bicycling event across Iowa. Warren Brown wrote about cars for the Washington Post. Mel Rosen was a crossword constructor and co-wrote an influential book about how to create crosswords. Bill Loud was the father in the TV show An American Family, which was arguably the earliest example of a reality show.

Hexagon 2018 – Tweet Land of Liberty: Hexagon is a political satire troop, who do variety shows for charity. This is up my alley to begin with, but another reason for going is that I know one of their members. The premise of this year’s show was that a couple in 2118 is touring the National Museum of American History’s exhibit on the Trump Era. Some of the highlights of the songs and skits were "Trump Girl Left Behind" (about Tiffany Trump), "Spending More Time" (about Paul Ryan, though spending more time with one’s family is a time-honored Washingtonian excuse for quitting or being forced out of a job), "These Colors Don’t Run" (about the Metro), and "Thoughts & Prayers" (a Roy Zimmerman song about mass shootings). The low light was a cringeworthy sketch about a couple on a date who have their lawyers getting signed permission for every step they take. I should also note that the sound quality was uneven, with some of the wireless mikes apparently not working, making some of the singers nearly inaudible. Things tend to be funnier when one can hear them. But, overall, I thought this was worth seeing.

Musical Therapy: I chose this show largely because I like musicals. And there were, frankly, not many musicals in this year’s fringe to choose from. Fortunately, it proved to be an excellent choice. The premise is that Theresa is a couples’ counselor, who has her own relationship problems. She’s infatuated with the guy whose office is next-door and tries to manipulate her clients’ relationships so she can end up with him. She uses sock puppets in her therapy, and they provide an amusing chorus for various numbers. There are also a truly astonishing number of euphemisms for a penis. The show is definitely quirky and requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief – but it is also extremely funny. The music was nicely jazzy and worked well to tell the story. It was also well-performed, even though the performance I saw had a last-minute understudy (who had to carry a binder with her script) for one of the parts. There was no program but looking at reviews on line leads me to call out Katie Rey Bogdan as Theresa. And I want to give a big shout-out to Joey Katsiroubas and Dan Hass who wrote this. All in all, I loved this show.

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