[Title of Show] is, in fact, the title of a musical comedy that ran recently on Muriel's Cabaret Stage at Le Petit Theatre. The ambiguity of the title reflects the ambiguities of the whole endeavor: The play is about two couples trying to write an original musical. Rather than draw upon books, movies or other common sources, they hit on the idea of incorporating everything any of the four says or does. The show will dramatize them writing the show.
The actual playwright, Hunter Bell, however, could have clipped quite a bit of his script without much loss. The songwriting by Jeff Bowen suffered at times from the Bunny Bread blandness of Broadway show tunes, where the crescendo climaxing an emotional song sounds like amplified kitsch.
On the positive side, the singing and repartee at Le Petit were handled with panache. Under A. J. Allegra's direction, the talented, exuberant cast performed an enjoyable show.
Jeff (Keith Claverie) and Hunter (Cliff Thompson) decide to submit their new musical to a festival. The deadline is only three weeks away, so they bring in friends to help them. Jessie Terrebonne as Heidi and Angela Papale as Susan performed with zest. They have great pipes, and the harmonies among the four singers were a delight.
The premise is sometimes gimmicky. At one point, the four cut off dialogue and make hasty exits because, as one explains, "Right now, I think we have to get out of this scene. It feels too long."
After considerable maneuvering and anguish, they not only win the festival but get an off-Broadway run and finally land on the Great White Way. A long haul for "Two Nobodies in New York," as Jeff and Hunter characterize themselves. [Title of Show] followed the same path to success that it dramatizes, so the audience truly is looking at mirrors within mirrors.
At Le Petit, Jefferson Turner played the keyboard, David Raphel designed the set, Ed McIntyre the lighting and Cecile Casey Covert the costumes. — Dalt Wonk