Sometimes when one has a craving to satisfy, it isn’t filet mignon that one hankers for, but maybe just a really good burger. Sometimes when one goes to the theatre to see a new show, you don’t know what to expect. Will it be a burger or filet mignon? How will it satisfy an inveterate theatregoer who has seen and reviewed hundreds, if not thousands of performances? A title can give a clue. A press release can titillate the proverbial palate with well chosen tropes. Law and Order: The Musical, a new show with book and lyrics by Ilyse Mimoun and music by Jeremy Adelman, which just opened at The Broadwater Second Stage, tickles expectation. What the show delivers is an umami burger, a delicious pastiche of spoofery, an extended, eighty-minute slice of SNL-esque buffoonery, with a bountiful serving of silly, snappy dialogue garnished with enthusiastic song and dance.
Set in present-day New York City, Law and Order: The Musical cleaves to the well-known format of the long running television show of the same name. The first half is a police procedural with a dead body and a lot of suspects. A couple of city detectives, the salt and pepper pairing of white Briscoe (Steve Fite) and his black partner, Geene (Ebenezer Alasi) are dispatched to a murder scene. They report to their lieutenant, the stern, by-the-book Fanita (Tara Cox). Sent out to track down clues and suspects, the detectives question a doorman (Kerr Lordygan) and many others. The second half, of course, goes to court, with a prosecutor (Ilyse Mimoun), a defendant (Kira Powell) a social worker (Annie Bond), the defense attorney (Tifanie McQueen), and a comically absurd Judge (Ms. Cox), who inevitably brings to mind an uproarious Judge Judy. Protean actor Godfrey Flax appears as various characters throughout to hilarious effect.
The show and its performance is as broad as broad can be. It is played to the audience with tongue firmly in cheek. The songs and the singing thereof is pretty damned good, with lots of tight harmony. And when there is singing, there is tightly choreographed dancing (kudos Lou Becker) with arms, legs, and hands snapping and waving, lots of spinning and turning, and who doesn’t love the good old box step? The committed cast has a ball performing the show, the joy of it radiates from their collective faces.
Ilyse Mimoun’s direction keeps the action brisk and the production benefits from the talents of Jeremy Adelman, music director; Amanda Knehans, production designer; Hector Quintero, lighting designer; Jennifer MacCarthy, costume designer; Allison Sulock, sound coordinator; and stage manager Desiree Zarate.
Apropos of nothing, I discovered, when researching for this review, that the TV series, Law and Order, featured a district attorney named Adam Schiff, played by actor Steven Hill. Interesting, yes?
The Blooming Damsels Production of Law and Order: The Musical (a parody in accordance with fair use law) continues through March 15, at The Broadwater Second Stage Theater, 6320 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.