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"Curvy Widow", a New Musical Comedy at the Westside Theatre
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"Curvy Widow", a New Musical Comedy at the Westside Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights


www.westwaydiner.com

In Hell's Kitchen
614 Ninth Avenue (43rd-44th)
New York, NY 10036
212.582.7661

Near All Broadway Theaters!
Open Daily 6 AM - 1 AM!
Family Owned and Operated!
Grilled Cajun Chicken Paninis!
Quesadillas & Belgian Waffles!
Souvlaki and Gyro Platters!
Stuffed Tilapia Florentine!
Superb Delivery Service!

Jayne Baron Sherman, Trish Santini/Jennifer Melin Miller
et al.
By Arrangement with Raoulfilm
Aaron Lustbader, Executive Producer

Present:

Curvy Widow
The Musical Comedy
(Show Website)

Book by Bobby Goldman
Music & Lyrics by Drew Brody

Starring:
Nancy Opel

Featuring: Andrea Bianchi, Aisha de Haas
Elizabeth Ward Land, Ken Land, Alan Muraoka
Nicole Powell, Matthew Shepard, Christopher Shyer

Directed by Peter Flynn
Choreography by Marcos Santana

At
Westside Theatre/Upstairs
407 West 43rd Street
212.239.6200

Scenic Design: Rob Bissinger
Costume Design: Brian C. Hemesath
Lighting Design: Matthew Richards
Sound Design: Ryan Rumery/M. Florian Staab
Music Supervision/Orchestration/Arrangements:
Wayne Barker
Music Director: Andrew Sotomayor
Press: Keith Sherman & Associates
Casting Director: Stewart Whitley
Production Supervisor: Production Core
Production Stage Manager: CJ LaRoche
Advertising & Marketing: DR Advertising
Company Manager: Michael Altbaum
General Management:
Foresight Theatrical/Nick Ginsberg

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 18, 2017


As one who is more than familiar with the middle-age dating scene and past experiences with various, so-called sophisticated, art and culture dating websites, I found Bobby Goldman’s Curvy Widow bland and boring. Ms. Goldman, widow of James Goldman, a renowned playwright, was an owner of a construction company, in her fifties, when he died. Her psychiatrist told her to mend her heart with old-fashioned sex, by going on Match.com and accepting some dates. The upscale men Bobby’s character in this autobiographical “musical comedy” meets are far more substantial than those usually connecting online. For starters, men in their fifties, even sixties, look for and almost always find much younger women. To make matters work, the play’s book has Bobby meeting men on a site for married men only, after she accidentally lands on one with graphic photos, a not so funny vignette. The married men offer a dinner at Per Se, marriage, and everything in between. This plot could have made for a wildly witty play, with or without music. But Curvy Widow was more like a sitcomish day dream with television jingle-worthy tunes and lyrics. I couldn’t help thinking of one of my favorite Off-Broadway musicals, seen at this very theater (twice), called I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Now, that was funny and tuneful.

Nancy Opel, who was magnificent in Honeymoon in Vegas, Polish Joke, and Cinderella, also seems sitcomish here, with her gorgeous, but wasted vocals in tunes like “Age Height Weight”, “Lying On the Bathroom Floor” (yes), and the title tune, which was her username on the married and dating site. Ms. Opel is ebullient, funny in persona, and magnetic, but this book (Ms. Goldman’s) and songs (Drew Brody’s) fall flatter than a brief blind date. It should be noted that the band, only a trio, piano, cello, drums, is insufficient in a theater this size, but, regardless, the tuneless, generic music was a non-starter for any instrumental ensemble. The three men in the cast, all superb actors, who each deserve another show, are Ken Land, as Bobby’s husband’s ghost, Jim, who appears in a lovely silk robe, jealous of the dates, and others, Alan Muraoka, as the psychiatrist and others, and Christopher Shyer, as Per Se, a date named for his dinner offer, and others. Each actor encapsulated the persona of blind dates, a gynecologist (cue the song, “Gynecologist Tango”, yet another unnecessarily crude addition to an already crude musical), and Jim. The three women in the cast, as friends and consolers-in-chief, Andrea Bianchi, as Caroline and others, Elizabeth Ward Land, as Heidi and others, and Aisha de Haas, as Joan and others, were like an inebriated Greek Chorus.

Peter Flynn has directed this fiasco like a sorority house take on “The Golden Girls”, with coarsened dialogue and shallow antics and tunes. Marcos Santana’s choreography was forgettable, as I did not leave, thinking of the dance routines. I’d like to see his dance designs at a future event. Lighting and sound design were workable, but it was the fantastic set by Rob Bissinger and costumes by Brian C. Hemesath that I took back from the evening. Bobby’s traditionally furnished and appointed Park Avenue condo is sold, as she moves to a downtown loft. Projections of the earlier spacious window view morph to projections of downtown buildings, and the art work turns modern, as well as a pull-out bed and sleek furniture. Ms. Opel changes flowing, silk caftan-styled tops for each scene, and each was eye-catching. I wish Ms. Goldman well in her construction business, as I do not recommend sequels to this show.



Nancy Opel in "Curvy Widow"
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy



Aisha de Has, Ken Land, Andrea Bianchi,
Christopher Shyer, Elizabeth Ward Land,
Alan Muraoka in "Curvy Widow"
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy



Alan Muraoka, Christopher Shyer,
Ken Land in "Curvy Widow"
Courtesy of Matthew Murphy


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net