I drove to New York City last night to catch one of the final performances of Lysistrata Jones, the new musical, which is prematurely closing after the Sunday, January 8th at 3:00 p.m. performance. I am so glad I did! Lysistrata Jones is funny, tuneful, and one of the best original musicals I have seen these past few years.
Based on the ancient Greek comedy, Lysistrata, by Aristophanes (where women of Greece decide to withhold sex until the men end their warring ways), this modern twist has the cheerleaders at Athens University deciding not to give it up until the men’s basketball team wins a game--a losing streak that has spanned 30 years.
The book by Douglas Carter Bean is smart, witty and hilarious. You could imagine he chuckled his way through the writing process. Performed by a young, spunky cast this energetic show rarely takes its foot off the accelerator.
Patti Murin, as the determined titled character, Lysistrata Jones, has a powerhouse voice and verve to match. Her’s is a star making performance. Other cast members worth noting are Liz Mikel as the full-bodied narrator/brothel madam, Hetaira; Lindsay Nicole Chambers, as the feminist work-study undergraduate, Robin; Josh Segarra, as the macho, yet poetic, captain of the basketball team, Mick; and Jason Tam, as the socially inept, Xander.
The score by Lewis Flinn is fresh, amusing, upbeat, and performed with exuberance by the spirited actors.
Director/Choreographe Dan Knechtges has whipped up a kinetic whirlwind of motion on stage. His production numbers are clever and thoroughly entertaining. The overall thrust of the musical can come across as slightly sophomoric and scattered, but that is more the direction of the show (this is a positive). It reminded me a lot of the original 1972 production of Grease—a rollicking good time for all—the actors onstage and the audience in their seats.
Lysistrata Jones, closing Sunday, January 8th at 3:00 p.m. If you can, head over to the Walter Kerr Theater on W. 48th Street for one of its last performances. You won’t be disappointed.
[Note: If available, there are $25.00 Rear Mezzanine seats at the box office. When I attended they closed that area and moved me down to the back of the Mezzanine. You can also buy discount tickets at the TKTS Booth or print out the coupon at Broadwaybox.com and buy tickets directly at the box office.]