It's a Hit: A Killer New Musical
nytheatre.com review by Debbie Hoodiman
August 11, 2006
It's opening night for the new Broadway musical "Disco Delroy," and the producer Kenneth Pecker has to have a hit or the gangster-wannabe from whom he borrowed the money to produce the show, is threatening to (you probably guessed it) take out a hit on his life.
But, that's not his only problem! Pecker's wife, Cherie de Provence, an aging stage diva, blames him for the failing of her once-promising career, and she doesn't like her costume to boot. Chad, the pretty-boy soap-star leading man, can't act, sing, or dance, and wouldn't mind getting out of the show. Vince Fox, the substance-abusing writer/director, is requesting "a pyrotechnic display—and an actor who's been in a play." And, Madison, the lovely ingénue, refuses to meet Pecker in her dressing room in a slinky negligee to guarantee that the understudy won't go on in her place. Ahhhh, the theatrics of actors and directors...
Then, when people start dropping dead, the drama of It's a Hit really begins!
As the hard-boiled Detective Krupke informs the audience in the opening moments, Broadway is a place of broken dreams, and showbiz can be a killer. Witty, stylized, self-consciously-formulaic lines like these are typical of this hilarious musical comedy with book by Beth Saulnier (a published detective novelist). Melissa Levis's lyrics are full of references to famous musicals, and she uses rhyme to hilarious effect. David Weinstein's music is both catchy and clever. It's a Hit combines camp, comedy, and suspense throughout, and even when the audience finds out who the killer is (or killers are—I won't tell!), there are additional comic twists. The audience laughed, clapped, and sometimes downright howled at the jokes.
With most of the cast members having appeared on Broadway, it's no surprise that the production value is very high. Donal Corren, as Pecker, Krupke, and the Disco Host, might stand out, but that is by no means a slight to his fellow actors. I couldn't take my eyes off Alicia Sable (Madison), and I loved her energy, detailed choices and sincerity. Rob Barnes shows great range in his variety of characters, and his timing couldn't be better. Kenny Morris pulls off both the evil, frustrated critic Simon and the tender, not-tough-enough Marty. Joanna Glushak's Cherie and Grandmere always have perfect poise and her voice is wonderful. Billy Wheelan, whose Chad is so (appropriately) stiff to the point of convincing me that the actor himself was tense, comes alive wonderfully in the part of Delroy. In short, all of the performers are triple-threat pros!
Although it takes a little long to tie up all the loose ends, the production is really strong. It's clear to me that It's a Hit aims to out grow its FringeNYC shell and molt into a longer run in an off-Broadway venue. I would recommend seeing it now so that you can say you saw it at the Fringe.