Musical is fun even if you don’t like musicals

From left, Dave Ruark, Cynthia Collins, Judy Fitzgerald and Don Farrell

From left, Dave Ruark, Cynthia Collins, Judy Fitzgerald and Don Farrell

There’s a little bit for everyone at Actors Theatre of Indiana’s current production, “The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!”

This spoof of musical theater is enjoyable for everyone from the most avid of Broadway fans to those that are married to them and have trouble just spelling it (the former being my wife, the latter being me). The show is divided into five easily digestible parts – each of which takes the tone of its composer in song, dance and presentation.

From “Corn,” a take on Rodgers and Hammerstein to a twist on Kander & Ebb in “Speakeasy” the show contains jabs and jokes that people who love musical theater and those that hate it will enjoy. Other composers being spoofed include Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim.

While all parts are thoroughly enjoyable and contain their own attraction, the beginning of Act II, “Aspects of Juanita” in the style of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber was the most recognizable – and memorable. Even if you know absolutely nothing about musical theater, the costumes and music immediately provoke thoughts of The Phantom of the Opera, Cats and Miss Saigon.

ATI’s founding members – Cynthia Collins, Don Farrell and Judy Fitzgerald – are joined by the hilarious Dave Ruark as they each take turns portraying familiar musical theater characters: the damsel in distress, the villain, the sage diva and the hero. While each scene draws from the same plot – “I can’t pay the rent” – that’s about all each has in common with the others.

Musical Director Brent E. Marty adds his own flair as the sassy piano player who guides the audience from genre to genre. Even if you get lost, Marty is there to steer you back with his words, music and facial expressions.

The show is directed by Richard J. Roberts and his – and the cast’s – knowledge of all the composers and their works make the show incredibly fun to watch and the setting makes the show very intimate and engaging.

“The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!” will be performed through Feb. 24 with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays at The Studio Theater at the Center for the Performing Arts, 4 Center Green, Carmel. Cost is $40 for adults and $36.25 for seniors Friday through Sunday and $35.50 for Thursday shows. For more information or to order tickets, call 843-3800 or visit www.ActorsTheatreofIndiana.org.

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