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June 16, 2017:

1001 Minutes of New Musicals Production C reviewed by Rob Stevens


Production C of New Musicals Inc.’s 1001 Minutes of New Musicals contains one of the best of their 12 mini musicals. It’s The Wedding Night with a book by Jana Hejdukova based on Karel Jaramir Erben’s poem “The Wedding Shirt.” It is basically a ghost story with plenty of chills as directed by Joshua Finkel. The setting is a small village in Bohemia circa 1850. Father (Randle Rankin) is a gravedigger with a fresh corpse to bury. Daughter (the exquisite Katie Hume) is staying up late, working on a wedding shirt for her husband to be. He is a soldier (Luke David Carlsen) who has been at war for some time. He picks this night to return to his beloved to take her to the grave with him since he was killed in battle that day. She only has to escape his clutches until the cock crows to stay alive. Will she make it once the soldier recruits the gravedigger’s latest corpse to aid him? The songs (music by Stephen Coleman, lyrics by Keith Dale Gordon) are melodic and haunting. Carlsen at times struggled to make some of the notes but overall this is a musical tale ready for expansion. Harriet Belkin wrote the book (based on a short story by Norman Belkin) and lyrics, Sandy Shanin contributed the klezmer like music for Curses! Herschel wants a wife but no one in the Russian shtetl in 1900 who knows him wants to marry him. A matchmaker finds him a match in a faraway town. Gittel (Kelly Coughlin) is the subject of gossip from her first appearance because of her red hair and propensity for haphazardly putting curses on her neighbors that come true. There’s a lot of fun wordplay on display here. The opening offering, Thanksgiving in Ithaca (with book & lyrics by Mitch Glaser and music by Joe Blodgett) is a lame attempt to set the Odysseus story in modern day Ithaca, New York. It’s a sung through piece that never really gels. Cellist Cameron Stone contributed greatly to the mood of all three musicals.



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