“Hollywood! Hollywood!” at the Midtown International Theatre Festival at the June Havoc Theatre (Closed July 30, 2013)

Book, Lyrics, and Music by Rocco Vitacco
Directed and Choreographed by Emma Canalese
Reviewed by David Roberts
Theatre Reviews Limited

“Hollywood! Hollywood!” is a pleasant book musical that follows a group of “young hungry hopefuls faking, taking, and making it in Los Angeles for their chance to star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame” and a pair of older successful Angelenos – Hollywood star Laura Tanner (Trudi Posey) and her agent and paramour Freddy (Robert Zanfini). Ms. Posey’s and Mr. Zanfini’s vocal and dramatic skills ground this sometimes fluffy musical and help the young cast find direction and a center for their characters. The musical has been around since 2005 and one assumes it has seen many productions with multiple casts. It is difficult for actors to find their characters during a short run. Without well-rounded dynamic characters, their conflicts become weak and drive less than engaging plots.

Relationships between former Chippendale Vincent (Ken McGraw, Jr.) and Claire (Erika S. Lee) and between Hollywood malcontent Ryan (John P. Hollingsworth) and stand-by-her-man Melanie (Meghan Ginley) are surrounded by and supported by other Hollywood hopefuls who sing and dance their way through this delightful musical replete with scenes reminiscent of “A Chorus Line,” a Busby Berkeley routine, and the Andrews Sisters (among others). The musical is heavily heteronormative and the only (possibly) gay character is clearly an outsider and often ousted from his friends’ antics and activities.

But those on the inside eventually get their man or woman and refuel their efforts to achieve success on the big screen. If Laura Tanner can “have it all” so can they. And they do: in the end, Laura and Freddy make sure everyone gets hired and receives a contract for employment. This is an “everything turns out all right in the end” musical and deserves a continued future. With some updating of the book, including more inclusive characters and conflicts, “Hollywood! Hollywood!” will continue to be a winner.