Monday, February 8, 2010

John and Jen, Penfold Theatre at the Hideout Theatre, February 4 - 21

Working with Michael McKelvey of St. Edward's University, the budding Penfold Theatre has occupied relatively unexploited theatre territory in Austin: the contemporary intimate musical. John & Jen has a genre resemblance to their pioneer show The Last Five Years. Two actors in an intimate space, with most of the story told in song. On his website, composer Andrew Lippa calls it a "chamber musical."

The music is scored for keyboard, cello and percussion. That ensemble constituted by Steve Saugey, Jeanette Cannata and Trevor Detling remains unseen. Their melodic, jumpy, at times yearning lines establish the moods that carry the action, while the actors' voices are primary throughout. MTI, the firm that licenses the rights, offers you at its website a sampler of 30-second nuggets from the principal numbers.

The unnamed singers in those samples have a considerable amount of Broadway smarm in their voices, that vocal attitude that suggests look at me, I'm so cute/adorable/funny/talented.

Sarah Gay and Andrew Cannata don't have that prissy attitude, because they don't need to. In Penfold's John & Jen they are, instead, projecting the title characters. All three of them.

Read more and view image at . . . .

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