- CHARITY BENEFIT
The New York Musical Theatre Festival can be hit or miss, but when it hits you revel in the talent and innovative qualities. My newest rave is Swing State which stars Jed Resnick (Avenue Q Broadway and currently in the New World Stages production) and Morgan Weed (currently in Rent at New World Stages, Saved and Next to Normal Off-Broadway)
The show has a premise that at first I thought “Oh God not again.” Kindergarten teacher and Born Again Christian Bonnie (Weed) goes to the new gay chiropractor in town, Neil (Resnick) an atheist. Bonnie has promised God she’ll save every little soul in her Appalachian Kindergarten class. The problem is Bonnie has repressed secrets which trigger chronic back pain. Neil is a new-age transplant from Brooklyn, who has come home to face his demons. The question here becomes who is healing and saving whom?
The music by Andy Mitton is infectious and fresh. If I had to compare it to anything, it would be Elvis Costello’s “The Juliet Letters.” written for the Bronsky Quartet, meets Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years.” I want this album and I definitely want to hear more from this new composer to theatre. Swing State is his first piece for musical theatre. The book & lyrics by Dana Yeaton (a Helen Hayes Award nominee for his play Redshirts), is clever, smart and takes the gay theme, which has been overdone, and makes you feel straight from the heart. Drama Desk Award-nominee for Yank, Igor Goldin’s direction is simple, allowing the audience to get inside the heads of these two damaged adults who represent those who have eyes to see.
Jed Resnick is like a young Norbert Leo Butz. Morgan Weed is like her name she grows on you until she has overtaken your feelings. Both of these two talented triple threats are stars on the rise. I look forward to seeing what the entire creative team does next.
Swing State performs at the 45th Street Theatre (354 West 45th Street) and you can catch it today Wednesday, July 25th at 1:00pm and Sunday, July 29th at 4:30pm. Tickets, priced at $25, can be purchased online at www.NYMF.org or by phone at 212-352-3101.