Fun and Song in [title of show] at Pollard Theatre!
“[title of show]” is a rather unorthodox title for the musical currently being presented at the Pollard Theatre in Guthrie, Oklahoma. So, it deserves an unusual review as well—Let us begin at the end.
As the show ended and the actors took their curtain calls 9 people immediately stood up. These nine are the nine that represent the song ‘Nine People’s Favorite Thing” with the lyrics ‘I’d rather be nine people’s favorite thing that 100 people’s ninth favorite thing’ a sentiment the audience agrees with. Before one could finish counting the members of the standing ovation those standing blossomed and the audience was on their feet entirely.
The show is about two young writer/actors in New York who decide to enter the New York Theatre Festival and write the show with only three weeks to submit their entry. As they begin the writing process, they sing, they emote, and ultimately decide to write the show based on their experience writing the show. They recruit a couple of talented young ladies and spend the next three weeks frantically recording their every move and conversation and converting these events into the show. The two young men are Jeff and Hunter, and the young women they cast are Heidi and Susan. They use their own names in the show for its initial presentation, so ‘[title of show]’ lists Music & Lyrics by Jeff Bowen and Book by Hunter Bell.
In the Pollard production expertly directed by Timothy Stewart, the role of Jeff Bowen is taken by Seth Paden and Hunter Bell is Jordan Harris. Paden is familiar to Pollard audiences and a favorite talent. Harris is making his Pollard debut and will soon become a favorite as well. These two have excellent voices, and wonderful comic chemistry. Erin Heatly who is also a Pollard familiar showcases her comic genius along with her incredible talent as Susan. Maddy Mae Billings also makes her debut at the Pollard as Heidi. Heatly and Billings also demonstrate good chemistry together and alongside the men making ‘[title of show]’ exceptionally entertaining. These are young New Yorkers breaking into the musical theatre community, and they are somewhat typical in conduct as we imagine…in others words the language is somewhat inappropriate for children even though it is quite appropriate for the circumstances under which it is uttered and is therefore not at all offensive to adult and young adult patrons.
Mary Wierick is Music Director, and in addition she also provides the piano accompaniment. She spends the entire show on stage but nearly hidden behind the piano where she unerringly plays the perfect musical accompaniment. She does also have a few lines in the show, and perhaps should also be listed as an actress, because her portrayal is exactly that of any Musical Director in virtually any musical presented!
Stewart’s direction seems almost effortless, although it is clearly not effortless and his ability to bring out the best in these performers under the best of situations is phenomenal. He is assisted, of course, by a great crew, including Stef Fortney, Stage Manager. Fortney has often appeared on stage and these experiences must have prepared her for genuine expertise in the creativity required. Jason Long is Production Designer and the Pollard Theatre Technical Director, Michael Long is Lighting Designer, T.T. McGee is Set Designer and Artistic Director, Jared Blount is Sound Designer. Seth Paden handles the Properties and Jess Mae, the Costumes.
‘[title of show]’ is an original Broadway musical, and audience members will enjoy learning the origin of this title during the production, a thoroughly delightful experience for patrons who love a good song, and love to laugh!
Opening September 2, 2022 and running through September 17, 2022 there is still a weekend of exciting entertainment to be appreciated. Visit www.thepollard.org or call 405-282-2800 for reservations and information. The Pollard Theatre is located at 120 W. Harrison in beautiful, historic downtown Guthrie, Oklahoma. Curtain is 8:00 pm Friday September 16, and Saturday, September 17, 2022.