If there’s one thing that the Richmond Triangle Players lack, it certainly isn’t ambition. In a city where a four-show season is the standard, the company is about to wrap up a sixth production. And with “The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!), Triangle seems determined to end its main-stage season with a bang.
This musical journey takes audiences through the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Kander and Ebb, Stephen Sondheim and others on a quest to skewer some of Broadway’s most famous works. Created by composer Eric Rockwell and lyricist Joanne Bogart, this wacky show is divided into segments by composer, each with the universal premise of paying rent to an evil landlord.
The Rodgers and Hammerstein section runs through “The King and I,” “Cinderella” and “The Sound of Music” before it is done. “Oklahoma!” becomes “Corn!” in this version, and special attention is given to “Carousel,” the quintessential musical about a wife beater who comes back from heaven. The dramatic Sondheim portion rips on “Sweeney Todd,” “Into the Woods,” “Sunday in the Park with George” and “Company” before the show jumps into the work of Jerry Herman.
But the production really gets cooking when it goes after the British Invader himself, Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Aping “Evita,” “Cats,” and “Phantom of the Opera,” the show references the accusations of plagiarism against Webber and mocks his over-the-top style. If only the script called for a pair of rollerblades to lampoon “Starlight Express.”
The four-person cast of Lanaya Burnette, Fernando Rivadeneira, Jacqueline O’Connor and Craig Smith gives hilarious performances across the board. Musical director Kimberly Fox harnesses the quartet’s voices to great effect, and Ann C. Easterling’s playful choreography only adds to the spectacle.
Under Julie Fulcher-Davis’ direction, the audience was amused even by the inside jokes it didn’t seem to fully understand. Alex Valentin’s all-black costume design is versatile for the many roles the actors must play, but T. Ross Aitken’s bare stage could use some sprucing up. Michael Jarett’s lighting design hits the over-the-top tone so correctly it produces laughs entirely of its own.
While the show bares its teeth on a few occasions, the tone it mainly achieves is one of light parody. If you like musicals, or if you like making fun of them, you’ll probably enjoy this offering from the folks at Triangle.
“The Musical of Musicals (The Musical!)” plays through June 2 at Richmond Triangle Players, 1300 Altamont Ave. Call 346-8113 or go to rtriangle.org for details.