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Where anything can happen and probably will if it hasn't already
Pop!, a new musical asking the question "Who shot Andy Warhol?" might get more than 15 minutes of fame following its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre thanks to its catchy tunes and savvy book and lyrics.
Randy Harrison as Andy Warhol.
(Photo by Joan Marcus)
Director Mark Brokaw skillfully brings all of the elements and a talented cast together to tell the story of the shooting of the pop art icon who made Campbell's soup can labels, among other things, famous in his paintings. The shows tends to be a little heavy on the music side with 25 numbers by composer Anna K. Jacobs in just an hour and 40 minutes without an intermission, but the vocals are strong and the numbers are nicely choreographed by Denis Jones.
Randy Harrison is a hoot as the philosophical, but clueless Warhol who keeps trying to get everyone to see the beauty in the empty paper bags he distributes. He and drug using "detectives" Gerard and Ondine (Danny Binstock and Doug Kreeger) investigate the shooting at his factory (recreated in all its dreariness by set designer Valerie Therese Bart as metal-trussed walkways that house the excellent band stage left and right) where all the beautiful people of 1960's Bohemian New York society hung out.
The prime suspects are the four women in Andy's life: Edie (Cristen Page), a Shirley-Temple-like porn star; Valerie (Leslie Kritzer)a screenplay writer and founder of S.C.U.M (the Society for Cutting Up Men); feminist Viva, who wants to star in one of Andy's films. The fourth suspect? That's Candy (Brian Charles Rooney), a transsexual Superstar created by Andy ( Rooney's feminine speaking and soprano are so good, you will check your program numerous times to make sure you read it right and that it's really a guy up there singing).
All of the soprano belts are a pleasure and the action never stops with video projections and various lighting effects that recreate a club atmosphere. One particularly clever effect is the projection of Andy's sketch of his fallen image on the warehouse floor as a Warhol original. Maggie-Kate Coleman's book and lyrics are intelligent and witty. It's a smart and pleasing production that I predict will go on to lots of fame after Yale.
Music by Anna K. Jacobs
Book and Lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman (additional lyrics, Anna K. Jacobs)
Directed by Mark Brokaw
Cast: Randy Harrison (Andy Warhol), Brian Charles Rooney (Candy), Doug Kreeger (Ondine), Danny Binstock (Gerard), Leslie Kritzer (Valerie), Emily Swallow (Viva), Cristen Page (Edie)
Choreographer: Denis Jones
Musical Director: Lynne Shankel
Scenic Design: Valerie Therese Bart
Costume Design: Ving Song
Lighting Design: Kevin Adams
Sound Designer: David Budries
Projection Designer: Tal Yaren
Orchestrator: Bruce Coughlin
Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes, no intermission
Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel Street, at York Street, New Haven
Performances: Tuesdays at 8 pm, Wednesdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, Thursday and Friday at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 pm and 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm.
Tickets are $35-67 and are available online at www.yalerep.org, by phone at (203) 432-1234, and in person at the Yale Rep Box Office (1120 Chapel Street, at York Street). Student, senior, and group rates are also available.
Nov. 27-Dec. 19
Review by Lauren Yarger based on performance of Dec. 5, 2009
Pop! (Who Shot Andy Warhol?)/Ensemble
Up Your Ass (Excerpts)/Edie, Viva, Candy
Up Your Ass/Valerie, Edie, Viva, Candy
Poor Little Rich Girl Songlet/Edie, Viva Valerie
Racist Doll Songlets/Viva, Valerie
Untitled Brawl No. 1/Company
The Last Laugh/Viva
Maybe It's Time/Gerard/Ondine
Mrs. Warhol's Eulogy/Candy, ensemble
The St. Vitus Dance/Ensemble
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol/Company
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