Walter Kerr Theatre, (12/14/2011 - 1/08/2012)

First Preview: Nov 12, 2011
Opening Date: Dec 14, 2011
Closing Date: Jan 08, 2012
Total Previews: 34
Total Performances: 30

Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway

Opening Night Production Staff

Theatre Owned / Operated by Jujamcyn Theaters (Jordan Roth: President; Paul Libin: Executive Vice President; Jack Viertel: Senior Vice President)

Produced by Paula Herold, Alan Wasser, Joseph Smith, Michael McCabe, John Breglio, Takonkiet Viravan/Scenario Thailand, Hilary A. Williams, Broadway Across America and James G. Robinson; Produced in association with Tony Meola, Martin McCallum and Marianne Mills

Originally produced by Dallas Theater Center; New York Premiere produced by Transport Theatre Group

Book by Douglas Carter Beane; Lyrics by Lewis Flinn; Music by Lewis Flinn; Musical Director: Brad Simmons

Directed by Dan Knechtges; Choreographed by Dan Knechtges

Scenic Design by Allen Moyer; Costume Design by David C. Woolard and Thomas Charles LeGalley; Lighting Design by Michael Gottlieb; Sound Design by Tony Meola; Hair Design by Mark Adam Rampmeyer; Associate Scenic Design: Jonathan Collins; Associate Costume Design: Matthew Pachtman; Associate Lighting Design: Craig Stelzenmuller; Associate Sound Design: Zach Williamson

General Manager: Alan Wasser Associates; Company Manager: John E. Gendron

Production Manager: Juniper Street Productions; Production Stage Manager: Lois L. Griffing; Stage Manager: Thomas Recktenwald

Musical Coordinator: Dean Sharenow; Conducted by Brad Simmons; Associate Conductor: Chris Haberl; Keyboard 1: Brad Simmons; Keyboard 2: Chris Haberl; Guitar: Freddy Hall; Bass: Alan Stevens Hewitt; Drums: Marques Walls; Percussion: Wilson Torres; Vocalist/Percussion: Biti Strauchn; Keyboard and Electronic Drum Programmer: Randy Cohen

Dance Captain: Charlie Sutton; Casting: Cindy Tolan; Marketing: Type A Marketing and Anne Rippey; General Press Representative: The Hartman Group; Advertising: Serino Coyne; Digital Outreach & Website: Serino Coyne; Photographer: Joan Marcus

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Opening Night Cast

Lindsay Nicole ChambersRobin
Liz MikelHetaira
Patti MurinLysistrata Jones
Josh SegarraMick
Jason TamXander
Alexander Aguilar'Uardo
Ato Blankson-WoodTyllis
Katie BorenLampito
Kat NejatCleonice
LaQuet SharnellMyrrhine
Teddy ToyeHarold
Alex WyseCinesias

Understudies: Alexander Aguilar (Mick), LaVon Fisher-Wilson (Hetaira), Libby Servais (Lampito, Lysistrata Jones, Myrrhine, Robin), Charlie Sutton ('Uardo, Cinesias, Harold, Xander), Barrett Wilbert Weed (Cleonice, Lampito, Myrrhine, Robin) and Jared Zirilli ('Uardo, Cinesias, Mick, Tyllis)

Awards and Nominations

Tony Award®

 2012 Best Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Douglas Carter Beane

Drama Desk Award

 2012 Outstanding Book of a Musical [nominee] 

Book by Douglas Carter Beane

Songs

music by Lewis Flinn; lyrics by Lewis Flinn

ACT 1 Sung By
Right NowThe Company
Change the WorldLysistrata Jones and Girls
No More Giving It UpGirls
Lay LowMick and Boys
I don't Think SoHetaira and Girls
You Go Your WayThe Company
Where Am I NowLysistrata Jones
ACT 2 Sung By
Writing on the WallHetaira and Company
Hold OnXander
Don't Judge a BookMyrrhine and Cinesias
Right Now OperettaThe Company
When She SmilesMick
Give It UpThe Company

Reviews


AP: "Broadway's 'Lysistrata Jones' is no slam dunk"

 

Do they give Tony Awards for best abs? If so, there's really only one clear winner so far this season – "Lysistrata Jones."

The Douglas Carter Beane-written musical, which opened Wednesday at the Walter Kerr Theatre, features a locker room worth of muscular guys and girls, all dancing in tank-tops, cheerleader skirts or even less. The musical itself, though, needs some more time in the gym.

While no theatrical air ball, "Lysistrata Jones" isn't a slam dunk, either. It's got terrific songs by Lewis Flinn and an energetic cast, but the book is too derivative, a few of the actors seem overmatched, the choreography from Dan Knechtges is merely serviceable, and there aren't enough killer jokes.

Beane – whose play, "The Little Dog Laughed," earned a Tony nomination and who also wrote the cult movie "To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar" – stumbles somewhat with this updating of Aristophanes' play "Lysistrata."

Beane has taken the 2,400-year-old comedy about Athenian women withholding sex until their men stop fighting and plopped it to present day Athens College, where the basketball team hasn't won in decades.

Enter a troublemaking transfer student – Lysistrata Jones, played with winning spunk by Patti Murin – who creates a cheerleading squad and convinces all the girls to cease carnal favors until the team records a win. It's basically a sex strike – what appropriate timing against an NBA season stalled by a lockout.

"This losing streak is just an excuse to make everybody give up," says Lysistrata.

"We can't win, get it? What, you think I like losing? This is the hand we got dealt, OK? And we have to live with it," says the hunky basketball team captain and secret poetry lover, played with smarmy charm by Josh Segarra.

What ensues is like a cross between "Porky's" and pretty much every teen movie since "Porky's": Lots of misbehaving, sex jokes, a trip to a brothel, regret and then everyone reconstitutes in different combinations. The head cheerleader falls for the geeky guy, the captain of the basketball team falls for the awkward girl, a gay couple emerge, and everyone enjoys themselves at an end-of-game bacchanal.

Using these cliches, Beane has hidden a Trojan Horse, so to speak. His play reaches for a discussion of fatalism and free will, of the bravery it takes to stop the status quo and risk everything, and even perhaps of American exceptionalism. The trouble is that peeks of these larger themes are lost amid the raunch.

Beane has thrown up all kinds of jokey references, including making fun of Mel Gibson, PETA, the iPhone's digital assistant Siri, and Joel Schumacher. Some are a bit dated – Kitty Dukakis, anyone? – and some are so topical they seem forced, like Lysistrata's taunt to the boys: "By the time we're done doing our sexy new cheers, you'll be readier for sex than Newt Gingrich's wife after a trip to Tiffany's."

The songs pumped out by a seven-piece band above the stage, on the other hand, are really good, especially the slinky pop of "Lay Low," the beautiful "When She Smiles" and the funky "Hold On." Murin has just one chance to show off her pipes and she does so in the Act 1 torch song finale, "Where Am I Now."

Beane and Knechtges, who also directs, last worked together on the equally Greek-ish "Xanadu," which was just as silly and frothy and sarcastic, but somehow had a sharper edge. Beane shifts from arch to sincere but it's sometimes not clear which is being intended, as in the time one of his characters invokes the memory of Susan B. Anthony to stick with her dream.

In "Xanadu," Beane had a terrible movie to draw on. Here, he has conjured up all the typical stereotypes from many teen movies – and already heavily parodied in such films as "Not Another Teen Movie" – like the hot and fiery Latina bombshell, the glasses-wearing geeks, the sassy black mama, and the rich white kid who thinks he's ghetto. But he hasn't done much with these characters other than present them.

Most of the dozen cast members are quadruple threats – asked to dance, sing, act and shoot baskets on stage. That's no easy feat, but few triumph. Of the supporting cast, Lindsay Nicole Chambers reveals solid comic and physical timing, LaQuet Sharnell sings very well, but Jason Tam as Xander seems uncertain of himself. And Liz Mikel, with her fantastic voice and strong stage presence, keeps the show alive. Yet this buxom, funny woman is asked at one point to strip down to a bodysuit in a moment that seems exploitative.

It was all funnier – and perhaps unexpected – before: Earlier this year, the Transport Group presented "Lysistrata Jones" in a 99-seat basement church gymnasium in Greenwich Village. The unorthodox setting was perfect for the material.

Now in a 945-seat Broadway theater, it seems a difficult fit. Allen Moyer's sets are a mix of stripped-down – his moveable racks of lockers have come with him uptown – and trying-too-hard, like a glitter curtain and digital scoreboard. A wall of lights is put to good use but the show's visuals haven't really made the leap.

Maybe it's the jump to the pros that has rattled this show. When it was stumbled upon at Judson Memorial Church, there was a surprising jolt: The quality was really high in such an unusual place. But the show is now wilting under the white lights of Broadway and the air is seeping out of the ball.


AP
12/14/2011

Replacement/Transfer Info


The following people are credited as replacements or additions if they were not credited on opening night.


Walter Kerr Theatre

(12/14/2011 - 1/8/2012)
Assistant Stage Mgr: Cody Renard Richard(Dec 15, 2011 - Dec 17, 2011).


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