The Contemporary Musical Mirth, Mayhem, and Levity of ‘It Shoulda Been You

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, ,   From Issue 878   By: Robert E Martin

24th April, 2019     0

In a world where nothing is what it seems, the contemporary musical It Shoulda Been You will have its regional premier when Pit & Balcony Theatre delivers the mirthful mayhem of this charming and engaging production to the stage in a series of performances from May 10-12 & 17-19th.  Directed by Todd Thomas, with music by Barbara Anselmi and book & lyrics by Brian Hargrove, this musical debuted on Broadway in March of 2015 and explores the architecture of a wedding that brings together two families who are quite divergent and comically different.

On the surface everything appears fine, but with a bride who is Jewish and a groom that is Catholic, religions collide, Machiavellian plots are revealed, promises are broken, secrets are exposed, and we find that hope springs from the most unlikely of places in this infectiously funny, charming, and original new musical where we witness a wedding day where anything that can go wrong does, and love pops up in mysterious places.

With a mother that is a tempest in a cocktail shaker, when the bride’s ex-boyfriend crashes the party, the ‘perfect’ wedding starts to unravel faster than you can whistle ‘Here Comes the Bride’; and it’s up to the sister of the bride to turn a tangled mess into the dream of living happily ever after in this musical comedy designed for anyone who ever had parents.

His mother is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. And, when the bride's ex-boyfriend crashes the party, the perfect wedding starts to unravel faster than you can whistle "Here Comes the Bride!"  It's up to the sister of the bride to turn a tangled mess into happily ever after in this musical comedy for anyone who ever had parents.

A truly ensemble production that features a dozen standout roles from young to old, It Shoulda Been You also serves as an outstanding vehicle for Pit & Balcony to showcase their outstanding talent, with a cast that consists of Greg Allison, Chad William Baker, Sharrieff Beamon, Barbie Carr, Jonah Conner, Shawn Finney, Danessa Hellus, Aidan Montgomery, Angie Noah, Kevin Profitt, Danielle Schoeny, Lexie Schultz, and Erin Whitfield; with choreography by Allie Williams and musical direction by Ryan Sequin, while Glecia Tatum serves as Assistant Director.

When asked about the qualities that distinguish this contemporary musical ensemble production, Director Todd Thomas points to several factors. “One thing that’s different about this end-of-season production is that unlike the last couple years, this is not one of your edgier musicals. It’s very contemporary, really upbeat, and hilariously funny, which all contribute to the reason it’s so relatable.”

“This show is about family and centered around a wedding with very big differences between the in-laws,” he continues. “One pair of parents come from money and society, while the other pair of parents are more working class and grounded; yet one thing both sets of parents share is the fact that neither are sure this is the wedding they want to have happen.  One mother struggles with losing her son and all of these conflicts are framed by this fun and memorable music and dance.  Plus, because the theme of this narrative offers us a look at getting married, it’s a very relatable plot-line.”

In terms of the qualities the various actors bring to their respective characters, Thomas is enthusiastic about the strength of the cast. “Danessa Hellus portrays the Maid of Honor, Jenny Steinberg, who is responsible for making this wedding happen and she possesses an awesome voice with a very broad range. Her sister Rebecca is played by Lexie Schultz, who goes to SASA and also played in Pit’s production of Anything Goes, and brings a lot of talent to the stage; and the groom Brian Howard is portrayed by Jonah Conner while his friend is played by Aidan Montgomery, both of whom have experience acting in many productions, so the audience will recognize much of this cast. The lead musical roles are taken by people with strong musical backgrounds; plus our Musical Director Ryan Sequin is a person we usually see on the stage, but he’s also a very well-trained vocalist and composer, so it’s cool and fun to have someone like him working with the singers.”

“I can also safely say this is one of the largest sets that we’ve built on the Pit & Balcony stage for a number of years,” continues Todd. “We’ve moved the set so it starts out much further upstage than usual and everything is set within the hotel where the wedding is happening, so scene changes are transitioned most through lighting, so our Lighting Director Bailey Banks has a very important role, as we’re using as much of the stage as the perimeter allows.”

“It’s always a challenge when you’re directing 13 people on what isn’t exactly a monstrous stage,” continues Thomas, “and because there are some elements of farce in this production some chaos is good; but making the production flow and seem natural with that many people on stage at various times is probably my biggest challenge. The whole cast is really putting in the work, so I’m not concerned at all about the cast development; plus our Choreographer Allie Willams has done a lot of shows, yet this is one of her first to actually choreograph, and her dance numbers are a lot of fun.”

“What I love the most about this production is that we’re pushing the limit of where we can go, so I believe audiences will find this an exciting production.”

Pit & Balcony Theatre’s production of ‘It Shoulda Been you’ will play from May 10-12 & 17-19th. Performances are at 7:30 PM and Sunday matinees are at 3:00 PM. Tickets are $20.00 and available by phoning 989.754.6587 or visiting PitandBalconyTheatre.com

 

 

 

 

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