“Deep Love” at the New York Musical Theatre Festival at the Allice Griffin Theatre (Closed Saturday July 24, 2015)

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Garret Sherwood and Ryan Hayes
Book by Jon Peter Lewis
Directed by Michael Rader and Jon Peter Lewis
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

“Deep Love” began its journey as a rock concert and that is precisely where its journey should have ended. It is not musical theatre. It could be theatre dance if the dancers told the story in dance with music and text supportive of the movement (not the reverse which is the case in this current incarnation). As it stands, Garrett Sherwood’s and Ryan Hayes’ “Deep Love” seems to be in search of an identity. And that is somewhat unfortunate given the quality of the music, the lyrics, the overall story, and the talented cast.

But all of that quality and talent is not working in the current incarnation of “Deep Love.” The use of five dancers to help tell the story does not work despite the significant skills of the dancers. Mr. Sherwood’s and Mr. Hayes’ book, music, and lyrics and Mr. Lewis’ book seem underserved by the choreography and the direction – both which distract from the characters, their conflicts, and the plot those conflicts drive.

Unfortunately, the program does not list what actors sing the musical numbers so it is difficult to give special mention to specific actors. Garrett Sherwood (Friedrich) has a delightful raspy rock voice that can handle any song and his vocal range and interpretation of lyrics is impressive. Jon Peter Lewis (Old Bones), Amy Whitcomb (Florence), and Melanie Stone (Constance) have powerful voices that handily interpret the lyrics. It would be a pleasure just to sit back and see them perform this Opera without the distractions of dancers and erratic direction. And it would be a delight to be able to hear an outstanding band without their faces covered in ghoul masks and forced to stand throughout the performance. The creative team might consider rethinking several of their choices in the creation of this re-birth of “Deep Love.”