COURTESY KARIS LO / MANOA VALLEY THEATRE
The hardest working crew in show biz: Clockwise from top left, Pilar Walsh, Terry Howell, Elitei Tatafu and Kim Anderson sing in the styles of five legendary theater composers/duos in "The Musical of Musicals -- The Musical."
5-for-1 musical special
Manoa Valley Theatre performs story in five different styles
Manoa Valley Theatre begins its fall season with a bargain offering -- five musicals rolled into one!
'The Musical of Musicals -- The Musical'
On stage: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 23
Place: Manoa Valley Theatre, 2833 E. Manoa Road
Tickets: $35 general; $30 seniors and military; and $20 for those 25 and under
Call: 988-6131 or online at manoavalleytheatre.com
It's the 2005 off-Broadway hit "The Musical of Musicals -- The Musical." Using the basic melodramatic story of an ingénue who can't pay the rent to her evil landlord, composer Eric Rockwell tells the tale five times over, each in the style of such musical theater legends as Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and John Kander and Fred Ebb.
If audiences have even a passing familiarity with the songs from long-running shows ranging from "Oklahoma" to "Chicago," they should have fun with Rockwell's tuneful parodies.
Veteran director and performer Jim Hutchison -- who's old enough to have actually either performed or seen much of these musicals during the 13 years he lived in New York City -- said that while Rockwell's show is satirical in nature, "it's done with a lot of respect.
"For instance, in the Sondheim segment, it takes on 'Assassins,' 'A Little Night Music,' 'Sweeney Todd,' Rockwell does as many of his shows in this section. Overall, the material is good, and these performers I'm working with, they're terrific."
The small cast who take on all this music with aplomb includes Terry Howell, Elitei Tatafu, Pilar Walsh and 17-year-old Kim Anderson, whom Hutchison compliments for "her stage intelligence, which is not something you can teach." Phil Hidalgo plays both the pianist and narrator who sets up each of the segments in "The Musical."
Using a minimal stage setup, with props and onstage costume changes, Hutchison said the cast hardly leaves the stage, except for a well-deserved breather in the form of an intermission.
"As we started playing with the material, and letting it say what it is, once they got comfortable, I told them just let it go. You know what it is after we've rehearsed and rehearsed it. One of the main things that works about this show is everyone enjoys working together, which is 80 percent of your show."