Entertainment » Theatre

Adam & Eve and Steve: A Musical

by Les Spindle
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Monday Jul 13, 2015
Kelley Dorney, Michael Spaziani, and Jotape Lockwood
Kelley Dorney, Michael Spaziani, and Jotape Lockwood  (Source:Jessica Tunstad)

As if on cue, following the recent landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Marriage Equality, Chandler Warren and Wayne Moore's exuberant musical spoof "Adam & Eve and Steve: The Musical" floats into the L.A. theater arena at precisely the right moment.

Parlaying the age-old Biblical story of Adam and Eve into a topsy-turvy mix of camp and sex farce, this zany show's heart is fully in the right place. Director Ronnie Marmo's tuneful, heartwarming, and hysterically funny unveiling of this delectable confection has the unmistakable whiff of a solid hit.

Though this NoHo run is being billed as its world premiere, local audiences actually viewed this production during the recent Hollywood Fringe Festival in June. A capacity audience on opening night in NoHo responded with glee and warm spirits to the infectious efforts of an irresistible five-member cast and the sprightly music made by composer Morris, who accompanies the cast on piano.

Warren's infinitely clever and entertaining book and lyrics and Morris' hummable music poke cheeky fun as this ersatz Good Book episode, while providing delicious roles for the performing quintet. If any show can open rigid fundamentalist minds with a blend of sly humor and mildly subversive views of sexuality and traditional marriage, this is it.

Beelzebug (Weton Nathanson), an opportunistic vaudevillian devil with more than a touch of Bert Lahr, more or less serves as narrator. This self-centered song-and-dance man, who has been banished from heaven, locks horns with God (played by a likewise drolly amusing William Knight), even though the two adversarial hoofers can't resist sharing a little soft-shoe and burlesque patter before getting down to the business of their epic power struggle.

In the Garden of Eden, the hopeful and handsome Adam (Michael Spaziani), the universe's first man, yearns for human connection. Yet before God can send the beautiful Eve (Kelley Dorney) his way so this pair can partake of the forbidden apple and launch the circle of life, Beelzebug pulls a bit of black magic. The devil sends in the fetching and horny Yves (Jotape Lockwood) to catch Adam's eye. In short order, Yves is rechristened Steve to avoid confusion with the incoming first female.

When Eve arrives, rather than three being company, this trio instantly turns into a crowd. Uproarious complications amid the ensuing competition include Steve's wishing to decorate a home with Ikea furnishings for the two men. Anachronistic references to WeHo, and other gay lingo make for plenty of hilarity. Meanwhile, Eve and Steve engage in an epic cat fight to land the heart of the man they both love.

The seasoned professionalism of Nathanson and Knight nail the sharply funny gag lines in Warren's fine text and lyrics. Meanwhile, the three young performers playing the triangular trio imbue their roles with polish, energy, and crisp wit, and all of them make the most of the buoyant song and dance segments. The show is graced with fine singing voices across the board.

Tim Drier's simple but fetching set design, Paul McGee's lighting and Crystal Craft's costumes match the overall excellence of this endeavor.

Marmo's venerable Theatre 68 company, which for several years offered challenging and distinguished work in its own facility on Sunset Blvd., seems to be in a more lighthearted mode here, as well as in its recent productions. Thankfully, this ironically funny musical proves that worthwhile thematic points can sometimes be made through raucous laughter as readily as they can through dramaturgic blood, sweat, and tears.

"Adam & Eve and Steve: The Musical" continues through August 30 at NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood. For tickets and information, visit http://www.plays411.com/adam.

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