Be inspired as "Tom Foolery" takes audiences into the world of Tom Lehrer who delighted so many with his musically-based attacks and banter on everything, both high-brow and low. The time is the 1960s, when there were "few if any restrictions to what could be said about life, but always with tongue-in-cheek" said Adriana Hardy, director of the Elden Street Players (ESP) production.
Whether an audience remembers Lehrer's drollness from their own callow youth and want to sing along, or are newer to enlivening musical spoofs and sensibilities through Dr. Demento or "Weird" Al Yankovich let alone the off-beat humor of the animated "South Park," there will be something for audiences of all ages to ponder as they laugh.
"Brilliant, with deadpan earnest humor and refreshingly literate and still relevant" is the way ESP veteran actor-singer Matthew Scarborough describes "Tom Foolery."
The show is a tour of Lehrer's off-kilter take on the world, first produced in 1980 by Cameron Mackintosh, known for producing award-winning musicals such as "Cats", "Les Misérables" and "Phantom of the Opera," to name a few.
Some song titles give hints on the Lehrer mind-set. There are “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park,” “The Masochism Tango,” “We All Go Together When We Go" and "Vatican Rag" as well as a cast favorite, getting the right answer through "New Math" among the 25 songs to be given fresh life. Musical director Tom Fuller indicated that the underlying music that propels the lyrics ever forward are of many styles; including ragtime, folk music, '60s ballads and upbeat ditties.
Where and When
Elden Street Players presents "Tom Foolery" at Industrial Strength Theater, 269 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon. Performances: Jan. 25-Feb. 16, 2013. Fridays-Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. Sunday Feb. 10 at 7 p.m., Thursday Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $23. Call 703-481-5930 or visit: www.eldenstreetpl...>
Matt Williams, another of the five-member cast, saw a production of "Tom Foolery" in Richmond, Va., some years ago while he was in high school. He recalls that performance still as quite an eye-opener. Caroline Simpson who will be dancing to depict many of the Lehrer lyrics finds the show a "wonderful delight . . . that is an equal opportunity offender." She has the opportunity to act out through dance and movement Lehrer's kiss of fire lyrics such as "Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany, that's why I'm in such exquisite agony."
According to Director Hardy, "Tom Foolery" has not been "done in the DC area in some time. It is great time to bring it back. Lehrer was so witty and there is such quirkiness to the show." This is a show of flames, not embers, to paraphrase Lehrer.