- CHARITY BENEFIT
Reviewed by Sandi Durell
Beware of falling asleep on the subway! In this case, you might wind up on the dark side of the rainbow or definitely tumbling down the hole sans Alice. If you’re Stacie Perlman, last year’s 1st Runner Up at the MetroStar Talent Competition, all it takes is an alter-ego Marguerite – well, let’s call her Maggie in blue jeans – a very honest and talented girl with a magnificent voice and good acting abilities to pull off the magic of a uniquely designed theater piece at the Metropolitan Room in this debut production.
A creative theme designed to show off the many voices, characters and faces of Perlman did just that, as she delightfully romps through the scary Fairy Tales we came to know as children. No wonder we had nightmares!
Together with the magical hand of her director and co-writer (Mac Award Winner) Rob Langeder, “The Story Underneath” – also an original song by Jason Wynn, Musical Director, talks of life’s realities, the changes we encounter growing up and keeping dreams alive; – - that is, if poor Maggie can somehow make her way thru Laura Jansen’s funky “Wicked World” and resist the piercing blue eyes of the hot, steamy Rumpelstilskin “Magic Man” (Ann & Nancy Wilson) and all those “Screwed Up People (who)Make Great Art” (Valerie Vigoda/Brendan Millburn/Rachel Sheinkin), reaching a quiet moment in the crystal palace of “Winter” (Tori Amos).
A highlight is the parody of Olman/Rose’ “Oh, Johnny, Oh!” dubbed “Oh, Wolfie” (alternate lyrics from Tex Avery’s 1945 cartoon Swing Shift Cinderella), with close Andrew Sisters harmonies featuring talented backups Melody Baugh and Alissa Hunnicutt. Yes, you’ll run into Little Red Riding Hood who, in this case, is looking for the big bad Wolf!
Ray Stevens’ “Frog Kissin’” (Hunnicutt – puppeteer), adds the cutsie, adorable froggie and we do eventually find out how frogs turn into princes – no it’s not kissin’!
The magic here is how Perlman is in the moment every step of the way, living and experiencing all the emotional upheavals of life, love and fairy tales as an excellent storyteller. She is “The Princess Who Saved Herself” (Jonathan Coulton) doing what she ultimately wants to do. Well, not to worry about Maggie who eventually wakes up on an E-Train and is on her way back home from the grimm Fairy Tales.
Here’s the message: we all have dreams and the magic is in us. But it takes someone with vision and ready to take the challenge to reach further – - like the passionate Stacie Perlman who definitely has got the Chalice in the Palace, but realizes no princess is an island. This isn’t your average, everyday cabaret show – it is a theatrical adventure featuring pop, rock, and theatre tunes that, with some nips and tucks, should do well in a small theatre. And, even though Jason Wynn loves Disney, it should be saved and not added on as the encore to what is already a complete show.
There’s another (the) Story Underneath on Tues. August 14th at 7 p.m. at the Metropolitan Room. 212 206-0440 www.metropolitanroom.com