I understand that by starting to add Broadway to my retinue, I have indeed crossed some kind of line from Male to Martha. But I don't care! Tonight, High Fidelity officially opened at the Imperial Theater, where I saw Pippin in the 70s. While I really didn't believe that you could make a musical about a moody John Cusak, tonight I stand corrected. The show, based on Nick Hornsby's 1995 novel and the 2000 movie, is fun to watch, has phenomenal sets, and a decent score. Will Chase and Jenn Collela play the leads Rob, a record store owner, and Laura, a lawyer and possibly the ex-girlfriend of Rob. Rachel Stern plays Liz (the Joan Cusack character). Christian Anderson plays Dick, the meek record store employee, and Jay Klaitz plays Barry, the character that put Jack Black on the map (despite this, I still liked the movie) Much of the action takes place in Rob's apartment or in his record store.
I think, as a youth of the eighties, that the show struck a particular chord with me. The songs, the references to "Born in the USA" Bruce Springsteen, John Tesh and acoustic Neil Young bring back fond memories. The show is just ironic enough to remind me of the difficulties of being young back then, but doesn't cram it down your throat. The actual songs of the show are a bit sophomoric, just like the characters singing them, but they are funny and catchy. The lyrics and storyline are excellent.
I would NOT take the kids given the language and theme, not to mention that the show is full of perfectly happy slackers and we need our kids to be bankers or rocket scientists or something. I should add that Ben Brantley of the NY Times hated it, but that just proves he's a tired old man whose seen one show to many. I'm sorry Ethel Merman's dead, too (I saw her at Jones Beach when I was a kid and she rocked, even if she couldn't quite sing at that stage in her life) but Broadway entertainment didn't end when she left us. Perhaps he would have liked it better if Laura killed Rob at the end of the show, sang something pithy about irony and then was consumed by consumption.