Entertainment :: Music

Lysistrata Jones - Original Broadway Cast Recording

by Steven Bergman
Contributor
Tuesday May 22, 2012
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The two-thousand year old challenge: how to take an ancient comedy and bring it to a 21st century audience? Lewis Flinn and Douglas Carter Beane are the latest musical theater writers to give it a go, and the result is a loose, collegiate production filled with enough grooves, loops and beats to make one crave the flickering lights and noise of the local dance club.

"Lysistrata Jones" is their update on the Greek comedy by Aristophanes. Their modern day setting is the fictional Athens University - where their mascot is, of course, the Spartan - but the two have kept the classic premise intact: the women (nee, the cheerleaders) decide to withhold sexual favors from the boyfriends (aka: the basketball team) until the players make the decision to try to win a game (as opposed to the Peloponnesian War) for the first time in 33 years. Because our society has (fortunately) evolved in the past two-and-a-half centuries, this situation is no longer cut and dry (so to speak), and the duration of the musical is a battle of the sexes set to catchy current sounds overseen by the goddess, Hetaira (Liz Mikel). Mikel and eight other cast members made their debut with this production, and are to be congratulated for keeping it light, upbeat and entertaining. Patti Murin (Lysistrata, or "Lyssie J.") keeps her role as real as the script allows; it would be easy to push this show into the land of softcore porn, but Beane’s script gives the characters the right amount of integrity, though Flinn’s score prevents the necessity for much.

The show only ran 34 previews and 30 performances at the Walter Kerr Theatre earlier this year, yet the score maintains a certain innocence that should allow for a dance-filled life in the community, collegiate and high school theater markets. A shout out to Broadway Records for producing this recording - it will go far in helping the piece gain future productions.

"Lysistrata Jones - Original Broadway Cast Recording"
CD / Digital formats
Broadway Records

Steven Bergman is a Composer / Playwright / Performing Arts Educator based outside of Boston, MA.

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