Musicals are not Ensemble Theatre’s bread and butter. But after 25 years, ETC has produced enough to excerpt selections for a thoroughly entertaining evening celebrating the theater’s anniversary. Big name shows — the Tony-nominated Grey Gardens and Mack and Mabel as well as the twice-presented Rock show Hedwig and the Angry Inch — are represented as well as comic gems like The Marvelous Wonderettes, Nite Club Confidential and The Great American Trailer Park Musical. Also a healthy dose of songs from David Kisor’s holiday fairytale musicals.
With five singers plus music director and pianist Scot Woolley, director D. Lynn Meyers has staged the 80-minute show without narration, just a nice range of emotion. Some material is not from shows that are true musicals: Woolley offers a showy keyboard excerpt from 33 Variations with Dennis Parlato as Beethoven, intensely composing in his head as the pianist madly matches each new thought; that’s followed by a vocalese version of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, recalling the fractious string quartet in the play, Opus.
25 the Musical continues at Ensemble Theatre through May 22. Go here to read Rick Pender's full review.