Friday, September 30, 2011

Party at the TBG

NYMF is in full swing, and I am trying to get out there to cover some of the shows that weren't covered in the NYMF 5-question interview series. The first two shows, however, on my NYMF itinerary were mentioned here before: Man of Rock and Crazy, Just Like Me -- both of which are running at the TBG Theater at 312 W 36th St. The shows are, as you can imagine, quite different in music style and content, but both are very charming, funny takes on love.

There's a quote from The SF Bay Guardian that describes Man of Rock as the "thinking man's Rock of Ages," and I totally agree. With great 80s tunes that channel the chart-toppers of the decade, the show captures the spirit of glam, larger-than-life rock without needing to use other people's songs. And while the concept of turning a Restoration Comedy into an 80s musical could have easily stuck to a one-trick gimmick, Man of Mode slipped pretty seamlessly into this retelling, creating a John Hughes-worthy romantic story of a womanizing rocker who fall in love with a Connecticut socialite. The voices on these performers were amazing, and I loved how each person really embodied a different kind of 80s rock star.

Crazy, Just Like Me is a little less rock, but with great contemporary music telling this modern-day love story, it creates a unique plot that I haven't seen on stage yet. Simple in its construct but complicated by its lovable characters, Crazy tells the story of a man who realizes, through therapy, that he is in love with his best friend. The thing I probably loved most about the show, however, is that instead of playing up the soapy drama that could come from this situation, it instead becomes a character study of 3 characters and their attempts to control their impulses: Simon trying to understand his feelings for Mike, Mike trying to deal with his fear of commitment to his girlfriend Lauren, and Lauren trying to stop herself from questioning she and Mike's relationship. It's enough to understand that we're all a little crazy, but that finding someone who understands that is the most important thing to work through it.

So check out either of these shows at the TBG Theater! And if you see anything particularly good at NYMF, feel free to share! Also, check back for some more coverage over the next week; very excited to share more about some of the great shows being featured this year.

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