Off-Broadway Review: “Tink!” at the New York Musical Festival at the Pearl Theatre

Off-Broadway Review: “Tink!” at the New York Musical Festival at the Pearl Theatre (Closed Sunday July 31, 2016)
Book by Anthony Marino
Music and Lyrics by Lena Gabrielle and Lyrics by Greg Kerestan
Directed by Rachel Klein
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

The most significant accomplishment of the new musical “Tink!” is that it will send you flying back to the J.M. Barrie classic, yearning to reclaim the magic and fantasy created by the adventures of Peter Pan, which is sorely missing in this current production, examining the backstory of the infamous fairy Tinkerbell. The book by Anthony Marino strips this lovable character of any charm or enchantment, revealing her as a strong willed, stubborn, self-centered feminist. The attempt to parallel socio-economic issues of modern day is heavy handed and sabotages the otherworldly fairyland. The music by Lena Gabrielle is repetitive, with pop infused tunes possibly targeted for the younger audience this product might attract. Long musical interludes catering to persnickety choreography by director Rachel Klein and Danielle Marie Fusco appear to only showcase their ability, rather than compliment the action and integrate into the plot. The broad direction of Ms. Klein manages to serve the material but creates arrogant caricatures in lieu of impressionable fictional characters.

The cast is top rate, committed to the product and executing their individual tasks with remarkable enthusiasm and energy in the most professional manner. Elly Noble attacks the role of Tink with determination, an enduring smile and a Broadway belt that shakes the rafters. Max Sheldon creates the inscrutable love interest James, with pirate panache and solid vocals. At the end of the first act someone falls from the sky onto the stage and all of a sudden it feels brighter, lighter than air and tingling with an excitement that draws you into the imaginary Neverland. That someone is Kurt Hellerich as Peter Pan. He is the reason to return for the second act. He exhibits a balance of childlike enthusiasm and adult sensibility, physically capturing the lost boy spirit with playful, pliable characteristic movements. His duet with Tink which introduces the second act and the beginning of their relationship is inspiring, igniting their magical adventure. This is the one moment in the production that manifests Barrie’s classic tale and it is short lived.

Although the concept seems interesting material for a musical, perhaps it is better left as a fleeting thought, to entertain your imagination as you immerse yourself in the classic which has served us well for over a century. Peter Pan is a tough act to follow.