Theater Review - Nobody Loves You (NY)

“Nobody Loves You”    The title may be negative, but this young, modern musical, a spoof of reality television shows, is  light-hearted fun. The Book and Lyrics by Itamar Moses address the superficial silliness of the shows that drag innocent people into the spotlight and make fun of them. Music by Gaby Alter moves along, not unpleasantly; his orchestrations are excellent. However, no song is distinctive and none is listed in the program. Alter also contributed Lyrics.  Mandy Moore's Choreography is fast-paced and Michelle Tattenbaum's direction is as slick as very tall Heath Calvert's stiffly sprayed hair. Calvert plays Byron, the MC of the show and in his silver grey suit and pink tie and socks is a replica of all such announcers, who are full of platitudes.

 

Bryan Fenkhart is strong in the role of Jeff, who is working on his PhD thesis in ontology—the philosophical basis of existence-  and believes this show, his girlfriend's favorite, is ridiculous in every way. The girlfriend, Tanya, the wonderfully versatile Leslie Kritzer in blond wig, decides to audition for the show. Jeff enters as well, to win her back. He is accepted for his insulting ways; she does not make it; they try to fix him up with someone else, but he is resistant until he connects with intelligent Jenny. Played by pretty sweet blond, Aleque Reid, Jenny works behind the scenes and dreams of making movies.     They both agree in keeping things real! They both hate the show!

 

The other competitors followed around with cameras are: Roe Hartrampf's Christian, who tries to live up to his name as a pure religious fanatic; (Hartrampf's also the Dance Captain); Autumn Hurlbert's ditzy Samantha; Lauren Molina's sexy Megan; (Molina was nominated for a San Diego Critics Circle Award at the Old Globe) and Rory O'Malley's Dominic. O'Malley displays a great voice in two other roles here- Chaz, and Evan, a blogger.

 

No matter what is happening, Leslie Kritzer, now Nina, the Producer of the TV show, insists on keeping things going. Her decision to present Jeff and Jenny as a romantic couple at the finale falls flat. Jeff admits he can't leave the spotlight. Jenny refuses, breaking Jeff's heart. But all's well that ends well.  After all, “Nobody Loves You” is a comedy.

 

Playing through August 18 at Second Stage Theatre on West 43rd Street in New York.

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