Hush The Musical
nytheatre.com review by Debbie Hoodiman Beaudin
August 16, 2011
I hate to fly. I’m not afraid of the flying itself (knock on wood), but I hate the aggravations of being at an airport: taking off my shoes in the security line, having to stake out a small bit of space in the waiting area at the gate, paying inflated prices at crappy fast food restaurants, and of course, enduring flight delays that inevitably get me to my destination hours and hours after my planned arrival time.
Given my dislike of flying (and my love of musicals), Hush The Musical should have been right up my alley. Set in the waiting area of LaGuardia airport during a long flight delay, the play follows the long tradition of taking a group of strangers and forcing them to spend time together—kind of like Twelve Angry Men or The Breakfast Club.
We learn about the conflicts of the main characters, especially Othello (Seth Blum), a rich businessman who is having big problems with his wife (Diana Falzone), and a flight attendant (Madelyn Schwartz), who took the job so she could see the world but feels lonely and hates always being on the move. The play also features a Hitman (Tommy J. Dose), who’s really a Mama’s boy at heart, and Georgia (Emelise Aleadri), a New Age meditation teacher who sees right through Othello’s materialistic ways and makes it her mission to straighten him out.
There is a chorus of fellow passengers (Blair Anderson, Emily Billig, Jim Roumeles, and Isabel Cristina Obando) who sit reading gossip magazines, sing background vocals, and sometimes perform some charming choreography (uncredited, but the piece is directed by Charles Mandracchia). The music is performed live by the pianist/musical director Mitch Marcus, a cellist, and a violinist.
The number one thing that this play has going for it is the talent of the singers. All have impressive, beautiful voices, and they do their best to bring Mandracchia’s songs to life. I especially loved Dose’s choice to sing in a character voice. His comic timing is right on. I also loved the way the actors blend their voices in duets—Blum and Falzone, Schwartz and Dose. Aleandri sells her comic songs and her singing helps fill out her character.
I liked the idea of setting the play at an airport. The set—some appropriately uncomfortable chairs, a screen with departure times, and a window where you could see the delayed airplane (set design uncredited)—works perfectly.
The main problem that I have with the play—and it is a big one—is that it does not really have a strong, central plot. There are scenes between actors, and there are conflicts, but the resolutions of the conflicts come suddenly at the end of the piece. There is a lot of exposition but no clear scene-by-scene buildup of action, and therefore I didn’t feel like anything was won when the resolutions came. This lack of a strong plot makes the play lose its steam early on, and I had trouble staying engaged.
Hush The Musical has an interesting premise that many people can relate to, and a talented company of performers. It would be worth it to workshop it more and try to work out a stronger plot structure and stronger songs.