December 3, 2011

Lysistrata Jones

Pinky and I went to see a preview performance of Lysistrata Jones, another collaboration from the team behind Xanadu. Directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges (who sat behind us in the theatre, taking notes), the book is written by Douglas Carter Beane (we snagged an autograph from him after the show). Lewis Flinn provided music and lyrics. Based on Aristophanes's anti-war Lysistrata, the musical stars a spirited Patti Murin as Lyssie J, a transfer student who spearheads a sex strike at Athens University.

In a year when Leymah Gbowee won a Nobel Peace Prize for nonviolent protests that included withholding sex from their partners to end the Liberian civil war, the topic couldn't be any more timely. The girls espouse 'No More Giving Up' in hopes of achieving victory in the basketball court after a 30 year losing streak. Call me a fuddy-duddy--which I clearly am since I used the word--but despite the energetic High School Musical/Legally Blonde-ish dancing, beautiful singing, sharp social commentary, I just couldn't get on board with the girls' goals. However, one has to admire Lyssie's plucky conviction.

We noticed a lot of children in the audience which surprised us, given the show's salty theme and humor. I can imagine their after-show conversations about abstinence, and maybe determination and commitment to a cause.
So while this was no slam dunk for me, I loved the band onstage, the astute wisecracks about current events, and how ancient Greece continues to inspire artists today. The show opens on 14 December.
Alexander Aguilar as 'Uardo, a basketball team member.
Jason Tam as Xander, a lovable nerd.
LaQuet Sharnell as Myrrhine.
Lindsay Nicole Chambers played Robin, who brings such passion to her poetry slams that you'll forgive how ludicrous they are.
Josh Segarra played Mick, Lyssie's boyfriend who reveals a surprisingly sensitive side to his jock/team captain persona.

We did not see the lovely Ms. Murin and powerhouse Liz Mikel (who played Hetaira, the Earth-Mother-in-Grecian-goddess-garb) at the stage door.


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