We had the pleasure of seeing “He’s Not Himself”, a new musical comedy by Marc Silverberg, produced by The New York Musical Theatre Festival and Aron Lewis Productions.
What a treat!
The plays intention was to incorporate a variety of theatrical aspects: “traditional jazz scores similar to Gershwin and Porter, classic stories with off-the-wall characters, out-of-control farces, stage combat, and a plot that can be enjoyed by everyone.” The time is set in the late forties, in an “unnamed city similar to New York.” It centers around Gene Bauer, a timid and weak traffic cop, who longs to have gangster chops like Al Capone and the love of his best friend, security guard to the (unnamed museum), Kay. His wish is so intense, that he develops a Jekyll and Hyde complex, pinning gangster mastermind against the do-good geeky cop. The entire play is narrated by Detective Tom Vito, who has excellent comedic timing. The play is peppered with a rather different sort of love triangle between Gene (Panzarella), Kay (Sorice), anne Bonnie, (Voigt), and lets just say the ladies do a hell of a job. “What I Need”, a song about money and other….things was hysterical. “Isn’t it Funny” was a song that struck a chord with all audience members, whether they admit it or not.
Silly? Yes. Quirky? Yes. Slapstick? Absolutely.
But it sure made us chuckle, and the cast dazzled us with their talents. The energy, commitment, and vocal talents of Keith Panzarella, Taylor Sorice, Dexter Thomas-Payne, Carly Voigt, and Marc Silverberg were palpable.
Marc Silverberg wrote the book, music and lyrics, AND played the role of Benny the Banker. You can “critique” him all you want, but you’d be hard pressed to find a critic who could fulfill all of those roles. We tip our hat off to you Silverberg, you’re an inspiration to the writers, actors, lyricists, and musicians everywhere.
Yes, the so-called “critics” from other theatre publications did not embrace the show, but forgive me for saying this, I feel as though they didn’t read Silverberg’s note. IT ACTUALLY SAYS IN THE PROGRAM: “To be honest, I was just trying to be as silly as possible.”
The intent behind the show, according to the writer, was over the top, slapstick, and…silly. And we do believe that he accomplished just that. Is it Next to Normal? Uh…no. But it’s cute, and it’s silly, and it will give you a little chuckle. Tell us people, WHAT is wrong with laughter? Perhaps those who panned this show could use a laugh or two.
What can we say about director Michael Pantone? We hope brilliant gets the message across.
We do not want to give the rest of the show away, because it’s our hope that you will go see the last performance tomorrow, Monday July 16, if you are in the NYC area. It’s fun, it’s cute, and you’ll definitely have a laugh or two…or three.
To the cast of “He’s Not Himself” – BREAK A LEG TOMORROW!