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August 14, 2021:

Authenticity: The Musical reviewed by Rob Stevens

In Authenticity: The Musical at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Aurora (Erika Cruz) is the social media star of her high school, but she realizes she has no real friends. That does seem to be the case with today’s youths. I’m including people well into their thirties, who live their whole lives with their faces glued to the screen of their cell phone, obsessed with every insignificant thing on social media. Hudson (Norman Thatch) does not have a cell phone which would seem to be an impossibility in today’s high school world in Los Angeles unless he was Amish. Instead, he hands out compliment cards for which he gets ridiculed. He soon has a cell phone and his first contact is Aurora who catfishes him as Teri from Delaware.

I must admit there is a generation chasm between the characters in this show and this reviewer. It took me a while to understand exactly what was happening and then I only asked why was it happening? The play doesn’t end so much as it just stops dead in its tracks before it reaches the one-hour mark. John Cassidy wrote the book and lyrics while Michael Vanbodegom Smith wrote the unmelodic music, every song basically sounding the same. Since I reviewed the virtual stream of the show, I received no program and neither the Fringe site nor the musical’s site gives anybody credit for directing, which is probably just as well since the show just seems to meander from scene to scene, song to song. I’ll just blame it on Alan Smithee. There are two choreographers credited although, I guess one for each dance number. Faye Turner, as teen bitch Paxton, adds some life to the proceedings with her song and dance. Then there is a strange tap dance as Teri and Hudson text each other at one point. Maybe the taps of their feet correspond to the taps of their fingers texting away. The male voices are pretty hard on the ears, except in the case of Giancarlo Garritano who has a minor role as a teacher. The women sing more harmoniously.

https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/7117

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