Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Outré Theatre Co.: tick tick BOOM (3 reviews)

Outré Theatre Company opened its production of tick... tick... BOOM! at the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center on May 24, 2013.
Jonathan Larson, the creator of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning musical Rent, penned this autobiographical musical which tells the story of an aspiring composer living in Soho at the end of the 1980s. Torn between the struggles of trying to achieve his dreams and the siren song of a settled, middle-class life, Johnny searches for the courage to risk everything in the pursuit of his art. His girlfriend wants to settle down and raise a family, his best friend is a financially successful ad executive — and Johnny waits tables and composes as he strives for his big break.
Skye Whitcomb directed a cast that included Mike Westrich, Sabrina Lynn Gore, and Jerel Brown.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Built around an impassioned and winning performance by Mike Westrich as Larson’s stand-in, Artistic Director Skye Whitcomb and Music Director Kristen Long have created an emotionally satisfying evening worth the trip to Boca Raton.
tick reaffirms Westrich’s emergence as a promising talent enhanced by an engaging charisma... His Jon here has a kind of 21st Century riff on Woody Allen’s likeable neurotic urbanite with jangly nerves. He is blessed with a fine voice that can kick butt when lusting after a BMW or fervently caress ballad lyrics
Gore, who starred as Queenie in Outré’s The Wild Party, exudes a smoldering sensuality and vocal vulnerability her rendition of Superbia’s signature number “Come To Your Senses.”  Brown, who played the protective friend in Slow Burn’s Side Show, is also effective in such numbers as “No More” and his duet with Jon, “Therapy.”
Danny Butler’s sound design under Giordan Diaz’s stage management adapted early on and enabled the lyrics to be comprehensible most of the time. Stefanie Howard’s lighting was emotionally evocative although it seemed awfully fidgety, switching many times in the course of a single number.
Michelle Solomon wrote for miamiartzine:
Outré Theatre Company’s tick, tick...BOOM! is a wonderful interpretation of this New York-centric romp.
The cast knows how to deliver the rock-tempo songs and a wonderful four-piece band, led by music director Kristen Long (a musical composer herself), never misses a beat.
Westrich has a strong voice and is a talented actor and it's really what's necessary for a show like this to be successful. He is confident and acts as the centerpiece that keeps everything accelerating around him, as well as it should be.
Gore as Susan/Karessa/Agent (who was so fetching in Outre’s Wild Party) has one of the night's most haunting and memorable numbers when she sings Come To Your Senses...
As Michael, Johnny's best friend, Brown wears the part perfectly. He’s at his best when he needs to play different characters such as Johnny’s cigar-chomping father...
Skye Whitcomb’s direction keeps the show moving along with plenty of crescendos in all the right places. He’s also credited, along with Nori Tecosky, for the scenic design. It shows in how he uses every inch of the set’s space − pieces, with their musical embellishments, which are bright and colorful, and are perfectly in keeping with the tone of the show.

The production’s depth of understanding adds yet another layer to Larson’s delightful and introspective show. “With only so much time to spend, I don’t want to waste the time I’m given,” Johnny sings. You’ll leave the theater thinking about your own passions and soul searching, while feeling like your time spent with Johnny was well worth it.

 Richard Cameron gushed for The Examiner:
Outre Theatre Company's mission states theatre should be raw, visceral, thought-provoking and action-inducing, well they are right on point with there brave new choices in musicals, that have not been shared with Florida theatre audiences.
The cast do an excellent job retelling Larson's journey. Mike Westrich (Johnny) just seen recently in the critically acclaimed BRTG production of "Chicago" stands out as the lead with his vocal talents and acting choices. Sabrina Lynn Gore (Susan) who shined as the star of "The Wild Party" for Outre Theatre Company, once again proves you could give her any role and she would find every unique way to make it her own. Jarel Brown seen as chorus in BRTG production of "Chicago" gets his largest role to date. Jarel sings with his wonderful raspy vocals. His acting may not be as strong as his counter parts but the "tick tick Boom!" journey is delivered.
Skye Whitcomb's production values in "tick tick Boom!" are again above a few local theatres... Whitcomb has secured a live band under the direction of Kristen Long... The sound by Danny Butler is better than ever! Light design by Stephanie Howard is almost perfect...

Outré Theatre Company presents tick... tick... BOOM! at the Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center through June 9, 2013.

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