Arts & Culture Music & Events Spotlight Fara Illich February 22, 2010

Reading about [title of show] is so much different than actually seeing it up close and personal. It’s one of those gems that’s more than the sum of its parts.
titleofshow2I was excited to finally see [title of show] at the Herberger Theatre on opening night, especially after having interviewed the monstrously talented Lauren Lebowitz, one of the musical’s stars, earlier in the month. Going in, I knew that the show would be the real-life story of two, out-of-work New York actors in 2004 who decided to write a musical about two, out-of-work New York actors who decided to write a musical. The fast-paced, hilarious, and yet subtly serious story follows these two quirky actors and their two equally-quirky best friends as they navigate from the unemployment line to creating a major Broadway hit.
And, yeah, it really did happen! Hunter Bell wrote [title of show] and his best friend, Jeff Bowen, wrote the music and lyrics. Both starred in the original Broadway production.
But [title of show] is not just a Cinderella tale. It’s an inspiring story for anyone who’s ever had doubts about his own abilities to dream and even dream big. It’s loaded with great writing and clever lines that stay with you long after the curtain comes down like, “I’d rather be nine peoples’ favorite thing than 100 peoples’ ninth-favorite thing…” Jeez, I loved that bit!
The sparsely decorated stage was a New York City apartment. Only a keyboardist shared the stage and yet the big voices of each of the actors—Stanley Bahorek (Hunter), Sal Sabella (Jeff), Lauren Lebowitz (Susan), and Kelly McCormick (Heidi)—made it seem like they were accompanied by a full orchestra.
Hands-down, my favorite musical number was the very raw and moving Die, Vampire, Die! and not just because it was sung by Lauren Lebowitz. It’s a song about ignoring your inner (and outer!) demons–you know, the ones that constantly tell you that you’re not good enough, that you can’t do something. I. Loved. That. Song! It ROCKED the house!
[title of show] is a production you might want to see more than once—it’s that good. It’s that clever. It does contain some mature language and content but my favorite warning comes from which said, “I wouldn’t recommend it to two groups: toddlers and stupid people.”
Don’t miss it and remember, Die, Vampire, Die!
You can purchase tickets at or by calling the box office at 602.256.6995. [title of show] will only be here till March 7.
[Editor’s Note: The post-show discussion following the March 4 performance will feature the creators and original stars of [title of show] Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, plus original keyboardist and musical arranger Larry Pressgrove. Tickets are still available for the Mar. 4 show.]