What else could you ask for in a season ending Summer show? Singable songs? Witty lyrics? Smart book? Good performances? They're all there and then some in Real Men Sing Show Tunes...and play with puppets at Actors' Playhouse.
It's a show by men about men so of course there's a six foot dancing dick. And a number called “Look Straight Ahead” that lays down men's room rules. And “I'm Not” (gay). And puppets that are actually fun. And “A Woman With Kids” that'll surprise you. And a touch of good old burlesque. Zip, zip scenes that fly by, ending too quickly it seems, but don't worry, here's the next one and it's just as good.
Hey, I enjoyed this show, all two hours plus an intermission, and so did most everyone else judging by the raving standing O.
Bow down now to some very talented people: Stephen G. Anthony, Paul Louis and Nick Santa Maria. The three are veteran actors, comedians, singers, each with their own distinctive style but working well together under David Arisco's slick direction. More big props to Paul Louis and Nick Santa Maria who wrote the book, music and lyrics.
And fear not, this is not a weak male copy of the old girlie standbys with their lyrics set to familiar melodies. This is an evening of close to thirty original songs that really work. It's vulgar, of course, sometimes tender and always right on point.
But does all this flying testosterone appeal to the ladies in our lives? Oh yes, indeed. I was battered by girlish guffaws all night long. Hooray.
Real Men etc is divided into five sections: Really Single, Really Domesticated, Really Forty, Really a Parent, and Really Relic with scenes and music appropriate to each. This could be a hackneyed trap, but not with this show. “Originality”; how I love that word.
The Musical Director and Pianist is Manny Schvartzman. Gene Seyffer designed the set, Ellis Tillman the many costumes, Patrick Tennent designed the lights and Alexander Herrin the sound. Paul Louis designed the puppets and together with Ellis Tillman, constructed them.
I confess I like silly, and there's a lot of that going on here, but it's clever silly and that's just great. As they say in the business: “This show's got legs.”
Real Mean Sing Show Tunes...and play with puppets runs through August 12 Actors' Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, 289 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305-444-9293 http://actorsplayhouse.org
Photos by Alberto Romeu