“Cloned!” at the New York Musical Theatre Festival at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre (Closed on Saturday July 19, 2014)

July 13, 2014 | NY Musical Theatre | Tags:
Book by Jacey Powers and Dan Wolpow
Music and Additional Story by Adam Spiegel
Lyrics by Dan Wolpow
Directed by Tom Wojtunik
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

The new musical “Cloned” at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre, presented as part of NYMF, will hopefully find a future in the effervescent New York theatre scene where it belongs. It has pop theatre music, comedy, parody, farce, a puppet and a sincere silly story combined with a cast of imaginative characters. It has a wonderful enthusiastic ensemble that teases every laugh out of the script or any ridiculous situation they may encounter and will tickle your fancy with their absolutely enticing vocals. While viewing the production certain material triggers memories of past shows but not to worry, the company it keeps is more than welcome with shades of “Little Shop of Horrors” and music reminiscent of Cy Coleman’s “Sweet Charity.” The cast is superb as they succumb to the absurd, revel in the farce, sing through the silly, and triumphantly deliver a solid and entertaining performance.

You might be seeing double as Alex Goley and Eric Mann do double time as Wally but amazingly each holds his own with zany antics and powerful vocals. Melanie Beck as both Izzys is the perfect match for both her Wallys, always strong, determined, and sweet with a powerful voice and well defined characters. Tony Romero (Mr. Choi) is hysterical and in fine voice and wreaks havoc in his encounter with Crystal Kellogg (Sharon) and her big Broadway belt and svelte demeanor in an unsuspected turn of events. Babs Winn, Matthew Knowland and John Alban Coughlan all do excellent work rounding out the comedic ensemble with well defined characterizations. Last but certainly not least is the performance of David Andino who brings to life the pigeon Tramell with great dexterity, precise facial expression, and inventive vocals.

The production moves at a fast clip under the guided direction of Tom Wojtunik and choreographer Ryan Kasprzak moves the actors well in the limited space. On a positive critical note the first act may run a bit too long and there are areas where cutting should be evident. Dr. Marshall needs to be pushed a bit further to the wild side, which might make him blend a little better especially after his turn to evil. After two hours of nonstop and fast paced theatrical entertainment, the audience deserves a pay off, a bigger, better musical finale. So possibly, with a little work and perseverance if you miss this incarnation, you may be able to catch an even better clone of “Cloned” in the future. But for now get searching to score some tickets to this entertaining zany production.