LEXINGTON PARK, Md. – The musical revue is a time-honored tradition within the theatre community.
It allows the audience to have welcomed exposure to a wide array of songs from various musicals in a short amount of time, without having to commit to watching each individual show.
The Newtowne Players has elected to bring back their yearly fan-favorite musical revue to the Southern Maryland theatre community, but with a spooky spin just in time for the Halloween season.
The byline for this year’s production is “Monsters & Villains from Broadway and Beyond.” Director P. Wade Thompson flexibly interprets this theme by including villain and monster songs from Broadway and elsewhere in the theatre realm, famous movie numbers, and even a song that describes a nightmarish situation.
The bright point of a musical revue of this nature is that if you find that one song isn’t your proverbial cup of tea, more than likely, the next one will be. Thompson helps to create an entirely thematic experience with his strategic use of notable Broadway songs of villainy prior to the beginning of the show.
Set design by Steve Pugh conjures a darkly fun, horror-adjacent impression from the moment the audience enters the theater through his eerily designed set of a center stage coffin and walls embedded with various nods to Halloween-themed properties. Throughout the production, the coffin is transformed as a backdrop during a Fiddler on the Roof number and used as a judiciously-used seat during others.
Three songs that had me thrilled with their energy and performance quality were “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid, “Playing with the Big Boys Now” from The Prince of Egypt, and “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago.
Angela Clark-Garcia’s vocal and character work as Ursula throughout the titular Little Mermaid number had me praying to the community theatre gods that a company in the area will produce the show in a future season. Clark-Garcia made rather nuanced, slightly unexpected choices that captivated every ounce of my attention.
Meg Pugh and Shelby Miller slithered like ancient Egyptian snakes on the stage in their Prince of Egypt number with an effortless flow that evoked welcomed flashbacks to watching the movie as a child. The two sorcerers are far better suited to being two women rather than men, at least when Pugh and Miller are at the helm.
The entire adult female cast of the show unquestionably brought down the house with their salacious rendition of “Cell Block Tango” which had the audience absolutely losing it afterward with unbridled applause and cheering. Inventive interpretations of the famous murderous ladies’ monologues breathed refreshing life into the well-known number.
The Newtowne Players’ latest take on the popular musical revue genre is a show for anyone who enjoys getting into the spooky spirit of the season.
If humming along to familiar songs and discovering new ones that you never knew you loved is your vibe, then this is the show for you.
The approximate run time is 2 hours and 15 minutes with one 15-minute intermission.
Content Advisory: This show contains mature language and light intermittent innuendo throughout.
A Nightmare on Broadway will be playing at the Three Notch Theater at 21744 South Coral Drive Lexington Park, MD 20653 through October 16th, 2022.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit their website here (https://www.newtowneplayers.org/nightmare.html).
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