The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings


SEARCH CurtainUp



Etcetera and
Short Term Listings



LA/San Diego






Free Updates
Writing for CurtainUp NYC Weather
A CurtainUp Review

The Big Bang

Boyd Graham & Jed Feuer
What's the Big Bang about? It's about 90 intermissionless minutes of tuneful good fun in the form of a make-believe backer's audition for a $83,500, 000 musical to be called, you guessed it, The Big Bang! Who's in it? For starters, there's you and the rest of the audience acting as the would-be backers. And to play all or what seems like all of the 318 parts, there's the affable and talented composer-lyricist team of Jed Feuer and Boyd Graham, plus their Big Bang One Man Band, Albert Ahronheim. In this day of minimal casts, two performers plus a pianist is two and a half times more than you often get. Most likely you'll congratulate Graham (he's the tall bald one) and Feuer (he's the shorter almost bald one) enthusiastically when they finally rush from stage to doorway to hand you a farewell fortune cookie as you exit still laughing.

Set and costume designers, Edward T. Gianfrancesco and Basil DuMaurier have furnished the Park Avenue apartment of the audition's absent hosts Dr. and Mrs. Lipcombs, (they are visible via an Andy Warhol silk screen portrait) with enough hilariously convertible props to whiz us through the Big Bang's journey through the whole spectrum of western civilization. The performers also use themselves as props, as when a hand turns into the Serpent tempting Eve with the apple (a Granny Smith, naturally!).

The charm and magic of Graham and Feuer's whirlwind musical journey is that their magician-like quick changes are made in full view of the audience and with ingeniously simple materials: a hassock becomes a stone slaves must haul to build the Pyramid. . . a lampshade and scarf create a groovin' Queen Nerfertitis. . . two open umbrellas turn a piece of fabric into a hoop skirt. . . two chairs metamorphose into canoes. . . a black laquered mantelpiece clock with gold trim becomes Napoleon's tri-cornered hat. . . two bundles of yarn with knitting needles turn our two guys into Shanghai Lil and Tokyo Rose. What's more they never try to really hide their rather unassuming appearance. Graham remains visibly bald even as a hoop-skirted Southern Belle with bunches of curls made of bunches of colored ribbons. Feuer's hairy chest is part of the "sex appeal" of the Empress Josephine.

The performing impresarios' voices are as unimposing as their appearance but then this is a backer's audition and you, the backer, are expected to imagine what the catchy tunes and witty melodies would sound like when done by Big Bang-worthy singers. Even with Graham and Feuer doing all the honors it's clear that they've written themselves a book in which every other word and name entails a playful innuendo (Julius Caesar's wife Hypernia has a sister named Hernia, the Indians "dumped without any reservations" sip Manhattans at the Alogonquin Hotel and decide to "scalp" their Bow Wow tickets and Yiddishisms lurk everywhere) and score and lyrics with plenty of bounce. As is to be expected, not every number can hit home like the Blessed Virgin Mary and Mrs. Ghandi exchanging the travails of famous mothers (To Mary's "it's not all loaves and fishes/guess who gets to do all the dishes" Mama Ghandi retorts "my son is still in diapers""). A songs about a lion and Attila the Hun are two misses that fell flat amid the hits.

Fast on the delivery as both men are, the hour and a half allotted to them is up by the time their story gets to the 1960s, they know it's time to make their final pitch. And so a flyer urging everyone to "invest now!" is distributed by Graham. I think it's safe to say you won't go wrong investing 90 minutes of your time in this modest little show

Performed by composerJed Feuer and lyricist-librettist Boyd Graham
Directed by Boyd Graham

Set Design: Edward T. Gianfrancesco
Lighting Design: James Vermeulen
Costume Design: Basil De Maurier
Sound Design: Ray Schilke
Running time: 90 minutes Douglas Fairbanks, 432 W. 42nd St. (9/10Avs), 239-6200 Performances from 2/15/2000; opening 3/01/2000

Reviewed by Elyse Sommer based on 2/26 performance
Closing 4/16/2000

The Broadway Theatre Archive

©Copyright, Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp. Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from