Greed: A Musical Love Story
nytheatre.com review by Michael Criscuolo
June 10, 2006
Greed: A Musical Love $tory is one of the best new musicals in town right now. Writer and director Robert Honeywell's modern updating of James Joyce's Ulysses is a fun and thought-provoking look at the internal battle waged between two sides of a lost woman's soul.
Lindy Bloom is a tortured New York accountant slaving away at a job she hates because she wants to get rich and get ahead. Her dreams are haunted by Anna Nicole Smith and Smith's deceased millionaire husband J. Howard Marshall, whose decadent wealth and power egg her on. Also vying for Lindy's attention are the specters of James Joyce and W.B. Yeats, both pleading with her not to forsake her soul's artistic desires (or her college Lit degree). Both pairs cajole Lindy at every turn as she goes about a day in her life.
Since most of the story takes place in Lindy's mind, Greed takes liberties with both content and form. Drawing obvious inspiration from Ulysses's use of stream-of-consciousness, the musical pointillism of Sunday in the Park With George, and old-fashioned show biz razzmatazz, Honeywell, co-composers Whitney Gardner and Meighan Stoops, and choreographer Jennifer Schmermund create a dazzling, but isolated, fantasy world where Joyce pole dances, Marshall outs himself as a "booberist," and non-sequiturs like "Work is work and schmork schmork schmork" make perfect sense. Greed is headier than most musicals (there's an extended number that explains money laundering, and the flip chart backdrops symbolize the corporate world Lindy has trapped herself in) but that's also what makes it more satisfying.
Honeywell, Gardner, and Stoops's witty and tuneful score kept me laughing the entire time (days later, I'm also still humming the songs—a great sign). Greed is also served well by a marvelous cast. Gyda Arber is delightfully ditzy as Anna Nicole Smith; Michael O'Brien and Honeywell himself are good comic foils as Yeats and Joyce, respectively; and Bryan Enk is terrific as the oily Marshall, making him both a charming and somewhat tragic figure. The entire production is anchored by a funny, touching, and absolutely masterful lead performance by Moira Stone as Lindy.
Greed: A Musical Love $tory is a welcome reminder that great musical theatre is not limited just to Broadway (or even Manhattan). The $ellout Festival has done the public right by putting this show up. Now, do them a favor in return by checking it out.