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It Shoulda Been You

a Musical Comedy
by Barbara Anselmi (music and concept), Brian Hargrove (book and most lyrics)

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 5235

SHOWING : February 10, 2018 - February 24, 2018



The bride is Jewish. The groom is Catholic. Her mother is a force of nature. His mother is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. And, when the bride’s ex-boyfriend crashes the party, the perfect wedding starts to unravel faster than you can whistle "Here Comes the Bride!" It’s up to the sister of the bride to turn a tangled mess into happily ever after in this musical comedy for anyone who ever had parents.

Director Kiernan Matts
Judy Steinberg Carolyn Choe
Rebecca Steinberg Hannah Marie Craton
Mimsy/Aunt Sheila Eileen Howard
Brian Howard Jacob Jones
Walt/Uncle Morty Eric Lang
Marty Kaufman Bryan Montemayor
Albert Trevor Perry
Murray Steinberg Zip Rampy
Greg Madison Dylan Parker Singletary
George Howard Bob Smith
Georgette Howard Emily Tyrybon
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


by playgoer
Monday, February 19, 2018
First off, the set design by Carolyn Choe and Kiernan Matts screams "wedding reception," with its curtained walls in shades of white and pearl gray and its two skirted conference tables angled as if for seating at the head table. There are two curtained doors upstage and white string lights diffusing through the white fabric surrounding the doors. It’s lovely.

Not all scenes take place at the wedding reception, of course, and Mr. Matts’ inventive blocking makes use not only of the unit set but also of all parts of the theatre (including in front of the stage, in the center aisle in the audience, and in the audience itself). Even those angled tables get quite a workout as platforms on which a good percentage of the action is staged. Action flows beautifully under Mr. Matts’ direction, making the show a joy from start to finish.

Ali Olhausen’s costumes impress, including two wedding gowns and a series of color-coordinated outfits for the wedding party. Nina Gooch’s lighting scheme adds to the visual appeal of the production. There aren’t a lot of props, but they blend in well with the production and add to the wedding feel.

Music direction by Annie Cook gets fine vocal performances out of everyone in the cast, even if the accompaniment in Kiernan Matts’ sound design comes across as a little synth-y and tinny. The accompaniment and vocals are beautifully in sync throughout. The score, with lyrics by an assortment of lyricists, is bouncy and enjoyable in the moment, if not indelibly memorable. All elements combine to create an atmosphere of supreme theatrical fun.

All the performers deserve accolades. Zip Rampy and Carolyn Choe, as the bride’s parents, use New York-inflected accents to underline their Jewishness, but combine them with performances imbued with tons of relatable human character. Bob Smith and Emily T. Kalat, as the groom’s parents, turn WASP-y stereotypes into sheer delights, with Ms. Kalat’s ever-present drink a gag that never fails to please. Hannah Marie Craton and Jacob Jones, as the bride and groom, have an easy chemistry and inherent sweetness that charms. Eric Lang and Eileen Howard, double-cast as workers at the wedding venue and as quirky relatives of the bride, add gobs and gobs of comedy to both sets of roles. Trevor Perry runs things as a fabulously gay wedding planner, starting the show off with an in-character curtain speech that gets the action started immediately. Taryn McFarthing brings a sassy earthiness to her role as bridesmaid, and Dylan Parker Singletary inhabits the role of best man with the quirky charm of a born comedian. Kelsey South owns the stage in the central role of the bride’s sister, a chunky gal seemingly always in the shadows as the light of love shines around her. Sweet-voiced Bryan Montemayor rounds out the cast as the Jewish young man the bride’s parents wish shoulda been the groom.

I haven’t always appreciated Kiernan Matts’ near-manic energy as a performer, but he has channeled it as a director and choreographer into a production of "It Shoulda Been You" that delights continually as it moves in its breathless pace through the lead-up to a wedding that never should have been and into its aftermath. The first act is a little long, but ends with a twist that sets up the course of the shorter second act, sending the plot in an unexpected direction that wraps things up in a sweet, romantic bow. Kudos, accolades, and plaudits to all involved! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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