Okay, enough of the meta. I saw [title of show]at Signature Theatre today. This is a musical about writing a musical, which is the sort of thing which would normally raise my hackles if I actually knew what hackles were. But I am also a theatre geek and I like to play "count the obscure theatre references" so I was willing to go in with a reasonably open mind.
The basic story is that two guys (Hunter and Jeff, who played themselves in the original) are writing a musical to enter in a festival and later do it off-Broadway and eventually bring it to Broadway. They're joined by two women - Heidi, who plays a number of ensemble roles in real Broadway shows, and Susan, who is busy playing the role of a corporate whore. (That is, she has an actual day job, not just temp work.) The theatre references are fast and furious. I can't say that I caught all of them, though I was particularly amused by the line about Mary Stout being hit by a hot dog cart, having just seen her play Yente in Fiddler on the Roof two nights ago. I did recognize about 80% of the shows mentioned in "Monkeys and Playbills", which is a very odd but successful number. The most powerful song is "Die Vampire, Die!" about dealing with insecurity and self-doubt. I also liked "Nine People's Favorite Thing" though I have to admit that I doubt that Kander & Ebb's The Rink even got that level of favor.
The tunes are not particularly memorable, but the show was witty and high energy enough to be entertaining. The performers (Sam Ludwig as Jeff, James Gardiner as Hunter, Jenna Sokolowski as Susan, Erin Driscoll as Heidi and Gabriel Mangiate as Larry the pianist) were all quite good. It did strike me as a bit cruel to show the Playbill for Glory Days which Gardiner wrote the book for as part of Jeff's collection of Playbills from failed shows. (Glory Days transferred from Signature to Broadway and flopped miserably, running just a few weeks.)
All in all, this was a lot better than I expected. I still think it is only likely to appeal to theatre geeks and, even with the included glossary, a general audience will miss too much to enjoy it.
This is the end of the review.