Thursday, July 21, 2011

Actors' Playhouse: See Jane Run (reviews)

Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre opened the world premier of See Jane Run! on July 15, 2011.
A World Premiere by actor-singer-writer Maribeth Graham and composer Dana P. Rowe, See Jane Run! takes a bold and often surprising look at the 21st Century woman. From secret desires to manic disorders, nothing is sacred in this truly funny and moving glimpse of the female sex. Three women take the audience through a series of revealing songs and scenes, where we meet the contemporary every-woman “Jane” as she tries to decide what makes her run, who she’s running from and where she’s running to. This edgy musical is filled with aha! moments for every “Jane” out there, and for every man who is trying to figure her out.
David Arisco directed a cast that featured Maribeth Graham, Jeni Hacker, and Irene Adjan.

Chris Joseph gushes for the Miami New Times:  All in all,it's a pretty crappy piece of writing; we learn nothing of any value about the play.
...the world premiere of the hysterical See Jane Run... The musical takes a bold and hilarious look at 21st-century woman...Through song and dance numbers, three ladies take the audience on an odyssey... It's an honest, edgy, humorous, and revealing musical filled with twists and surprises that just about any woman will relate to.
This is not a review.  This is ad copy.  A review has to answer these questions: How was the script?  Which songs worked best?  What was "edgy" - a particular story, a specific performance, or the way it was staged?  What was the most poignant moment in dance?  What was more compelling - the stories being told, or the actors performance of them? What message did you take away with you after curtain call?

It's time for the New Times to dump this hack and his editor.  We deserve better than this crap.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
With lyrics by Graham, music by Rowe and a script attributed to both, the summer show has virtues and flaws, as most brand-new musicals do.
Graham, who is also one of the three talented See Jane Run performers, is a Carbonell Award-winning actress who started writing parody lyrics for the Carbonell ceremony, then moved on to original work for this new show. Her lyrics are smart, insightful and effectively wedded to Rowe’s music.
Yet overall, See Jane Run trips on the hodge-podge concept that serves as its storyline. The loose, apparent theme is this: Women face lots of challenges, but in the end (this being musical theater), they triumph. Yes, that’s simplistic. But with fizzy direction by David Arisco and appealing performances from Graham, Irene Adjan and Jeni Hacker, See Jane Run does have its moving, amusing moments.
A few recurring bits attempt to provide some thematic cohesion, as Graham plays a divorcee on a series of first dates, each woman sings a solo while writing a letter, the women deliver one-liners, and Graham and Hacker play women whose secret affair means more to one than the other. But more work – at certain points, lots more work – is needed on abrupt endings to songs and scenes, character clarification and weak transitions from one subject to the next.
Rowe, who also serves as musical director, is adept at writing everything from haunting ballads to rock-tinged numbers, and on the silly comic song You Tarzan, he has the women blending like reincarnated Andrews Sisters.

delivers a glorious, heartbreaking solo.... Adjan goes comically nutty on Funny at First, the musical retort of an unhinged stalker. And Hacker, a Miami singer-songwriter, deftly infuses her songs and scenes with heartfelt emotion... and physical comedy... that would do Lucille Ball proud.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami Artzine:
It's Graham's first attempt at a musical but her co-writer Rowe is well known for Zombie Prom and The Witches of Eastwick among others. There's no doubt Graham writes well.  There's funny stuff, a little sadness, regret and hope.  Not new subjects, but well presented in the main. 
The performers are just wonderful.  It's all peaches and cream, watching and listening to these three actors.
See Jane Run!, directed by David Arisco, is a pleasant show with hints of what it could become.  As it stands it's a little disjointed, a little jammed.  Thirty-two simplistic scenes in ninety minutes don’t leave much time for character development.
Ron Levitt wrote for ENV Magazine:
...a wonderfully creative feast of musical vignettes and comic skits put together by  actor/singer Maribeth Graham and composer Dana P. Rowe...
Appearing in her own world premiere, Graham is  joined by other veteran performers,  the multi-talented Irene Adjan and golden-voiced  Jeni Hacker - while  co-author Rowe is behind the scenes as Music Director.  It is a creative endeavor that acts as  a perspective on what makes females  tick in today’s  post-Women’s Lib society.   Actress Graham may be  a first-time lyricist/coauthor, but she apparently has found a new niche with veteran composer Rowe
Under Arisco’s directing baton, the  show combines comic sketches with funny but realistically powerful  moments, shedding new lights on the talents of all three  on-stage women.
See Jane Run! plays at Actors Playhouse through August 14, 2011.


  1. Thanks for calling this New Times piece to my attention. It's an example of direct plagiarism from the theatre's own ad copy, and I've sent the editor of Miami New Times a lengthy letter about it. Hope to hear back when he returns from vacation.

  2. You're right.

    This isn't a review.

    It's a synopsis. A stage cap for our "What To See This Weekend" section.

    The script, the songs, the performances... these things aren't discussed here because It's not a review, nor is it meant to be one.

  3. First, the New Times doesn't HAVE a "what to do this weekend" section. It's a weekly gig; the entire thing would be the weekend section. So this is a fairly stupid argument.

    Second: it was placed where we expect to find reviews, based on YEARS of reading the New Times. If there is an error, it is yours (or your editor's) for failing to properly label what it is intended to be, or for placing it in the wrong slot. If you (or the NT) is changing the layout, it is your responsibility to make it clear that you are doing so.