Saturday, July 20, 2013


While one of my favorite aspects of modern chamber musicals is the ease with which smaller, more dramatic stories are translating themselves to the stage, there are still shows that celebrate the pure joy and escapism that musicals uniquely are able to do. A shiny example of this, in fact, is Nobody Loves You, a new musical by Gaby Alter and Itamar Moses that just opened at Second Stage in NYC. After all, considering this show is a parody of a fictional reality dating television show by the same moniker, what is more escapist than a musical/reality TV mashup?

Nobody Loves You tells the story of Jeff, a grad student whose girlfriend recently dumped him after an argument about his lack of interests in her interest (i.e. her favorite reality dating television show). Determined to get her back (or at least make sure no one else can have her), Jeff auditions for the show. His sarcastic and caustic tape catches the eyes of producers who immediately pick him, even though his ex-girlfriend is nowhere in sight. Intrigued about the idea of continuing on with the show more as moral commentary than actual contestant, Jeff finds himself among a cast of lovable whackos, a preening host, and a production assistant he might have an actual connection with.

The show is frothy and fun with a few particularly standout numbers and terrific performances all around. Heath Calvert is perfectly shiny as the show's vapid and golden-voiced host, and I am officially in love with Aleque Reid's voice, which should have every songwriter eager to give her their music (if I could do it, I would). A particularly genius structural decision was the character of Evan (played brilliantly by Rory O'Malley), a blogger who comments on the show through social media and eventually plays a larger role in the story when it's revealed that he is Jenny's roommate.

Overall, the story is campy fun-- less biting satire, and more playful delight in the ridiculousness of reality TV. Revel in the drama and absurd personalities, and soak up some clever songs with a bit of an electronic thump. This is a score I can especially see lending itself well to a cast album.

I've been a pretty big fan of Gaby Alter and Itamar Moses for a while, and this collaboration did not disappoint. Nobody Loves You runs at Second Stage until August 11. Grab your tickets here.

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