A Shout Out For Hopeville

Thursday, April 2, 2009 Leave a Comment

Chris Critelli and Cast (© Jacquelyn Terhar)
This post is long overdue. But when players in the Indie Theater community paint with bold colors, it deserves a shout out, late or not.
Last weekend marked the closing of The New Hopeville Comics, a new rock opera written by Nate Weida and Sarah Donnell (produced in association with Flux Friend, Michael Roderick). When Hopeville's own superhero Perfect Man sinks into despair over breaking up with his girlfriend Molly, villains Sex, Drugs and Rockenroll seize their opportunity to kill him off and take over the town. It's up to Molly and her friends April and Felix to save the day and bring hope back to Hopeville.
While the plot definitely had the comic book feel you might expect from such a title, its execution was nothing short of marvelous. With a 20 person cast and a 5 piece band, the first thing you quickly realize is how exciting it can be to hear that amount of sound and see that many bodies in a space as intimate as the Chernuchin Theatre. Choreographer, Ashley Adamek makes great use of the ensemble in the opening number, incorporating them as stars, clouds and moving men that create Perfect Man's flight through the night sky, letting us know in, no uncertain terms that this is a comedy and schtick will be abundant. Director, Jim Wren, commits with whole-hearted abandon to every moment of zaniness and this cast fills it with all their might.
Particularly enjoyable performances included Chris Critelli, as Perfect Man, who's charmingly cheesy superhero comes complete with a brilliantly rigged baby rescue. Sarah Donnell navigates the role of Molly through her journey of self discovery with truth and simplicity. John Bennett's villainous Rockenroll is remarkably charming. As vampy, vapid Delois, Carolyn Cole's deadpan is spot on and a delight from start to finish. Christine Dwyer as April is completely believable with an especially beautiful performance of the song "Wanting Molly".
Bravo. And, in the words of Hopeville, Rain On.