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"Newsical, The Musical" at the Kirk Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

Tom D’Angora and Elyse Pasquale

Newsical, The Musical
(Show Website)
At the
Kirk Theatre
(Theatre Row Website)
410 West 42nd Street

Book, Music, and Lyrics By Rick Crom
Directed by Mark Waldrop

Christina Bianco, Christine Pedi,
John Walton West. Michael West

Scenic/Projection Design: Jason Courson
Costume Design: David Kaley
Lighting Design: Josh Starr
Marketing: Meri Krassner/SRO MKTG.
Press: John Capo P.R.
Production Stage Manager: Scott F. Dela Cruz
Musical Director: Ed Goldschneider

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
May 13, 2011

What a disappointment! I love political humor, saw Political Idol three times in past years, Capitol Steps, Politically Incorrect years ago, and now tape Stewart, Maher, White House Correspondent’s Dinner...Rick Crom’s Newsical, The Musical at the Kirk Theatre, on Theatre Row, is just a bore. The news cycle, with internet and cable, is 24 hours, at the most. Steven Slater abandoned his Jet Blue job on August 9, 2010, and now it’s May 13, 2011. Larry King is already retired. Joan Rivers isn’t in a show these days. These were the characters this somewhat amateur ensemble was depicting. Some talent was there, but the show, itself, was way past its shelf life. Michael West opened the show telling the audience he’d be putting comical ears on for an Obama skit later on. Yes. This show was something maybe for tourists who had never seen a political review, but New Yorkers?

One highlight of what I could glean as witty was Christine Pedi’s Joan Rivers interview on Larry King, imitating characters that Rivers sends up, but just Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, and Elaine Stritch, as the others were just insult mimicking, like that of Julie Andrews. Sets, costumes, wigs, and props were minimal, less than a frat party skit would assemble. There were some projections, like Jet Blue, a skit about Harry Potter at 62 (who cares?), Jimmy Stewart on Capitol Hill, 2011, a non-starter, a Lipitor ad gag, with father and son (played by Michael West and John Walton West) going at each other at heart attack level, Christina Bianco as Lady Gaga (one of the better skits, at least timely), a Christina Aguilera gag, singing the “Star Spangled Banner” (That was back at the Super Bowl, months ago), John Walton West as Morgan Freeman (they couldn’t find an African-American, comic actor for Obama and Freeman?), Michael West and Christine Pedi in a Shake Weight and Snuggie blanket TV gag (doesn’t everyone zap those ads?), and so on. Lyrics were as synthetic as the Snuggie, and tunes were as forgettable as Slater. Too bad it’s Friday, and Stewart’s show isn’t on. Wait, there’s Maher. I left Newsical longing for the real thing.

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For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at