Off-Broadway Review: “I Am, I Will, I Do” at the New York Musical Festival at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater

Off-Broadway Review: "I Am, I Will, I Do" at the New York Musical Festival at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater (Closed Saturday July 29, 2017)
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Dan Manjovi
Directed by Christopher Scott
Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza
Theatre Reviews Limited

“I Am, I Will, I Do” is a new musical being presented as part of NYMF by Dan Manjovi Music. It is classified as a Beta musical which means it is further along than a staged reading but not yet ready for a full production. In other words, it is a platform for the creative team to work out the kinks and hopefully learn enough from audience response and constructive criticism to advance the project to the next level. They have assembled a talented cast to help them achieve this goal and at the same time provide ninety minutes of light, fluffy musical entertainment.

The storyline follows the quest for love and a fulfilling relationship by three different couples who are old college friends. One couple is two gay men, Dave a song writer and Harris a lawyer, searching for a loving partner. Another is frugal Tony and his fiancé Valerie, who is planning her extravagant special day, both looking to solve the conflicts before the big day. The last is already married Nancie and Richard who run a failing business and are now pregnant. They are somewhat linked together by cartoon character Dr. Lara a life coach and therapist who also whines about being single and does not fit into the reality of the situations but provides comic relief.

The book and lyrics by Dan Manjovi do not employ any new outlook on these tired, generic relationships. There is too much whining, arguing and speculation, not enough character development and plagued with predictable happy ever after endings. It provides no resolution or solution and does not reflect the current socio-economic turmoil with little or no dramatic arc. The music provides some pleasant melodies but is repetitious and not diverse enough to provide interest. The lyrics fair better usually moving the plot on to the next scene or commenting on the previous.

At this point the creative team needs to evaluate the content and decide what it wants to be. If it is a modern musical it needs to be real and realize that some relationships don’t work out, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If it is an old fashioned romantic musical the characters need to be fleshed out so the audience cares about them. If it is a satire on the current state of marriage and relationships it needs to be more animated and absurd. The foundation is fine but now there needs to be a better blueprint that clearly defines what is being built.