Love Money: A Recession Rock Musical
nytheatre.com review by David Gordon
August 25, 2009
Program notes state that Love Money: A Recession Rock Musical is the first show put on by Les Zeux, a theater company formed by a group of friends from Middlebury College. They claim, "We don't really know what we're doing or where we're going, but we know that we love doing this." However, if Love Money is any indication, they can carve out a nice little niche as a rockin' group of satirists.
Set in the offices of the Bank of North America, Love Money is the story of the corporate greed of Sarah Foote, whose dead father used to run things. In the heat of an argument, Sarah pushed her mother and dog out the window and Mama has vowed revenge ever since she awoke from her coma. It just so happens that, on the day in question, Mama finds out that Sarah is going before Congress to ask for a significant chunk of change in "Susan Sarandon" money (they can't say the word that rhymes with "mailout"). So Mama tries to stop her.
The cast is game and uniformly strong. I'd be hard-pressed to play favorites. Ali Kresch is sexy and scary as Sarah; Judith Dry is equally scary as Brooke, her mother; Lucas Kavner and Willie Orbison are blissfully befuddled as Sarah's assistant and an office temp, respectively.
No indication is given as to which parts Kavner, Orbison, and Thompson Davis took in "creating" Love Money, but the script is laugh-out-loud funny, though a bit too long (director Aaron Gensler does a great job keeping the manic pace flowing for all but two or three scenes). The score, written for three guitars and drums, is hard-driving rock music, not the Broadway stuff we're used to with Spring Awakening. (As in Spring Awakening, the actors use handheld microphones to sing, but I imagine that's out of necessity. It works.) Ward Wolff's sound design, however, could be improved, as a lot of the lyrics are lost when trying to compete with the musical accompaniment.
I can't wait to see what Les Zeux has up their sleeves for their next go.