MetroStage will present the DC premiere of "The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)" through June 3rd. The same story with the same characters is played in a sequence of five musicals, which are intended to be light and comical. In each musical, the script, lyrics, music and settings are parodied to the composer's distinctive musical style. Even the characters' names are adapted according to the composer's works.
"Each of the characters is an amalgam of characters from various musicals by those composers," said musical director Larry Kaye, who for the past 25 years has directed musicals and plays in DC, Philadelphia and Europe. "One of the wonderful things is that because I've been so involved in musicals for so many years, it really allows me to work in a bunch of different styles of the various composers. It's a strength of mine as a director. Harnessing the comedy and getting it across to the audience in a well-done parody is a challenge for any director. It has so much potential … this musical has so much potential," he said.
Donna Migliaccio, one of the cast, most recently performed at Signature Theatre's "Into the Woods" and at the Kennedy Center's world premiere of "The Brand New Kid."
"It's a show that's fun. It's sort of silly, it's witty as well, but mostly silly. My character, Abby, is basically sort of a wise woman who has an advice song in each of the five sequences. She's different every time. It's an opportunity to really exercise your comic chops. It's a chance to be out and out goofy," said Migliaccio.
A HIGHLIGHT to the musical will be the range of musical styles of the composers covered. "What's special is that parody is so present in the music. The singers and I need to be able to switch between different musical styles between pieces. They're parodying not only the composers and lyricists' approach to character, but how actors throughout the years have approached their music and delivered their music," said music director Dan Kazemi.
Bobby Smith will be playing the villain, known as "Jidder," in the musical. "Hopefully it's one of the shows that people can come to and they can enjoy it for the spoof, just lie back and laugh at what everybody pokes fun at musical theatre," he said. He appeared in "The Happy Prince" at the Kennedy Center and at MetroStage's "Girl in the Goldfish Bowl."
Russell Sunday and Janine Gulisano Sunday will be playing Willy and June, respectively.
The two have performed in "Closer Than Ever" at MetroStage and have often held leading roles in musicals at Toby's Dinner Theatre. He describes the five musicals in that they each adapting to the composers' musical styles. "Sondheim is very dissonant in the way he composes things. Hammerstein would be a very classic look at Americana, which were the early times when we didn't have TV," said Russell.
Excerpts from the composers' works will be parodied, including Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel" and "Oklahoma", Stephen Sondheim's "Company", "Into the Woods" and "Sweeney Todd", Kander and Ebb's "Cabaret" and "Chicago", Andrew Lloyd Webber "Phantom of the Opera", "Evita" and "Sunset Boulevard" and "Cats", and Jerry Herman's "Hello Dolly" and Mame."
"Hopefully people can attend the performance and enjoy an evening of theatre that is light and whimsical. What people poke fun at is what they are coming to digest," said Smith.