Review: “MusicalDEEP” at Gorilla Tango Theatre

 Gorilla Tango Theatre presnts:

MusicalDEEP

Directed by Howard Witt
thru November 23rd (ticket info)
reviewed by Timothy McGuire

musicaldeep The new show MusicalDEEP at Gorilla Tango Theatre possesses a lot of potential in its current concept, but the performance is a work in progress. MusicalDEEP is a musical parody about a group of young theatrical hipsters who feel that they must experience life’s hardships and personal struggles in order to create deep meaningful art.

The opening scene is the most stimulating, where knock-out beautiful Jeezy McNeezy performs a burlesque like tap dancing strip tease down to just her lacy purple panties and two feathery stars covering her talented figure. This opening possibly signifies the honesty and “baring of one’s soul” that it takes to create significant art, but I actually saw no correlation between the opening scene and the rest of the play other than serving as an eye-catching opening.

The rest of the play consists of three girls and a guy slowly and methodically discussing how they can create deep art. Their conversations are too scripted and performed as if in a classroom skit.  Although the chemistry between the cast brings out individual personalities between the characters, the dialogue is underdeveloped, leaving one constantly expecting more to happen. The aspiring artists in this musical come off as young, very young, hipsters (most likely 20-22yrs old) with valley girl speech to go along with their hipster clothing.

Jessica Marks developed the strongest individual personality in a girl named Paragraph and provides subtle interactions with humorous and insightful weight. Her storyline is developed around a hidden desire that provides true human conflict, although it is never sincerely developed or expressed.

MusicalDEEP stands out by having a different kind of protagonist; one that is the clear headed and morally sound. Ashley Jennings plays one of the young girlfriends searching for a way to create deep art, but is unconvinced that you must manipulate your life in order to feel pain as a creative stimulus. Her final song might be the best fit for this musical parody. Intentionally singing her song extremely high pitched and without any effort to sing in tune, she made her musical portion satirical rather than lacking in musical strength.

The brevity and promising premise of this play makes it a fun quick stop before calling it a night or heading out to the bars on Milwaukee Ave. The overall performance has its slower moments and the drama needs to be further developed, but if you laugh out loud more than ten times in an hour I consider it a success and MusicDEEP far exceeded that standard.

Rating: ★★

 

MusicalDEEP, performing Mondays at 8pm, November 2 – November 23, 2009 at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago 60647. Tickets are $10; to purchase tickets call 773-598-4549 or visit www.gorillatango.com.

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