Friday, June 3, 2011

I Married Wyatt Earp

This original musical with a book by Thomas Edward West and Sheilah Rae, lyrics also by Rae and music composed by Michele Brourman, took an all lady look at the Wild West. Cara Reichel had the difficult task of staging eleven actresses on an all too small stage at 59 East 59 Theaters. Worse, Joe Barros was required to supply choreography for several spirited numbers with nowhere to go. Circles became the most useful pattern. Although the songs were appropriate and even had variety, they were woven into a meandering book that didn’t find its focus until the end of the first act. The main action concerned the future Mrs. Earp (Mishaela Faucher) who, being an unconventional teen for her time, runs off with an all lady western tour of H.M.S. Pinafore. The troupe ends up in the town of Tombstone to play an ailing hotel and saloon run by the ladies of the Earp family. The story is told in flashback as an older Josie Earp (Carolyn Mignini) narrates, connects the scenes and argues about the facts and fiction with older Allie Earp (Heather MacRae). The flashback technique, as well as the older versions of the main characters, were unnecessary and the key scenes could have played well enough alone. However, this wouldn’t improve the overall rambling of the plot, which seemed to have as little to do with history as Doris Day’s Calamity Jane––though that would be fine if the material was as entertaining and delightful as that film musical. Structurally poor, musically mundane and only serviceably acted, this new Off Broadway musical was a major miss-fire.

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