nytheatre.com review by Nancy Kim
July 15, 2007
Although the two industries share New York City as their capital, the financial and theatre worlds rarely cross paths. That is until you visit The Street, where smart female characters talk about stock options one moment and break out into song in the next moment. In this musical comedy, Ronnie Cohen gives us a slight glimpse of career women working on Wall Street.
In the first of many risks that are posed to the characters of The Street, Whitney urges Tiki to set up their own investment firm. While they strike out on their own, Jill is, in contrast, a highly successful and highly temperamental skin care CEO. All the women here are thrown into high stakes situations when Jill seals the fate of her company with one risky move and Whitney makes a bold prediction that can make or break her start-up firm. Though much of the show has a comic and silly tone, the economic theories and finance terms peppered throughout it are surprisingly compelling as they give these characters moments to display their smarts and gutsy attitudes.
Not only driven by profits and delivering product, these characters are also faced with personal and moral risks. Though able to readily call up numbers and stocks, the cautious Tiki weighs in on the risks of romance with Nick, the neighborhood restaurateur. Meanwhile Jill sees an opportunity to take advantage of an admirer. These subplots fit in with the comic elements and provide the material for the expected love songs in a musical, but they are treacly as well as distractions from the sharper satire of the women working in the financial world. When there are as many scenes taking place in the love interest's restaurant as there are in the women's new firm, the focus seems less to be on how they work and navigate in this high-pressured world than it is on who these women will end up with romantically.
Leslie Anne Friedman and Theresa Rose do good work as Whitney and Jill. As the story's center, Friedman's Whitney is played with a mix of earnestness and sass, Rose has much fun as the villainess Jill, though her character verges on extreme caricature. Spouting Chinese aphorisms and being a rather timid character, Fiona Choi is able to be winsome as Tiki, despite what could have been a cringe-inducing stereotype. Jason Adamo, Ryan Hilliard, and Jonathan Whitton also take strong turns in key roles.
In addition to co-writing the book, Ronnie Cohen is responsible for the catchy songs. With the musical direction of Daniel Cataneo and some fun choreography by director Heidi Lauren Duke, the cast and ensemble are given ample opportunity to shine.