I always try to give the theater companies the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rating their productions. Tonight, I was asked to review a new play, performed by a young, new company to hit the scene, and I was hopeful that I would discover something special. In fact, I was led to believe that there would be by the “hype” that this was “an award -winning show”. That is what the publicist wrote on the press release. There is no award ( at least any mention of any award, other than that, and let’s face it, one can claim what they want- seeing is believing!
The play- “Tapped: A Treasonous Musical Comedy” written by Jed Levine with music composed by Brad Kemp. The story is about Mary (Lauren Siciliano works very hard to keep the audience into what might be called a work in progress) a top agent with NSA. She is smart and has worked very hard in a “man’s world” and is anticipating a promotion , but lo and behold the job is given to a man, leaving her to once again prove herself to her boss, Patrick (David Dritsas). Mary, in order to find success and happiness is convinced by her co-worker/college buddy, Lisa (the very sexy Brittny Congleton) to reach out to an old flame, Steve (Max Hinders) a supposed whistleblower she has been asked to spy on, for her shot at romance.
Mary gets involved in a plan with Steve to expose some of the systems that NSA uses and they are forced to go on the run. Being set-up by the Wikileaks they end up in Russia , stuck in the airport pending investigation while Juliana (the Wikileaks, leader brought to life by Jenna Steege) confesses to Mary that she and Steve are lovers. The story is very contrived and the feeling that I had is that this company, Forth Story Productions, began to piece this concept together as an improv, and continued to expand upon it. During the two years they did this, I see bits and pieces that appear to have been added along the way. I also think they never eliminated some of the stuff that they replaced.
Directed by Molly Todd Madison and choreographed by Holly Gombita, it almost seemed as if the actors just moved about with the exception of some of the dance routines. Ms Gombita did some sharp tap numbers. These actors and the energetic ensemble worked very hard on this project, so I will mention them by name: Tina Arfaee,Colleen Burgess,Warren C. Dailey, Phil DeBoer, Xavier Euzarraga, Mickey Mulhearn (he must have been in the Flag Squad in high school or college- he can twirl with the best of them), Beau Nolen, Todd H. Page, Heather Scholl(quite the tap dancer), Fiona Stephens, and Courtney E. Thompson (another swift dancer). Maybe as time goes on, they will look at the script, make a few cuts and find the story and script they are looking for. A great deal of the movement was moving furniture on and off stage.
There are no mentions of the technical aspects of this production , as there are no technical aspects to really speak about. With perhaps the exception of Archer Curry and the props. The musicians did a nice job with the music, although the sound equipment had some problems opening night making it difficult to hear all the words. I did notice that some of the songs had familiar rings to them, and some were stand-alone songs that did not propel the story, but at least were enjoyable. As I stated earlier, there is, hidden in the depths of this over-produced play a potential shorter version that will be the “musical comedy” that will be fun to watch unfold. This is two hours and forty minutes – much longer than it needed to be, and at times, when it appeared to be over, they would do yet another bit/scene. Take a look, people- fix it!
Thursdays 7:30 p.m.
Fridays 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Sundays 2 p.m.
Open seating tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the box office, by calling 773-975-8150 or online at www.tappedthemusical.com
To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “Tapped: A Treasonous Musical Comedy”