What to expect: 11th Hour Theatre Company is presenting Falsettos as part of its Next Step Concert series. This means that the seven actors in the production are usually singing off of librettos (in their hands or on music stands) and performing in front of mic stands. The show runs 2 hours and 45 minutes with an intermission.
What’s good: Falsettos is a challenging show, with musically complicated, character-driven songs, that demands performers tell almost the entire story through song. As on-again-off-again lovers, Marvin and Whizzer, Steven Pacek and Kevin John Murray have tremendous chemistry. They make every fight, reconciliation, and decision feel authentic. They are the beating heart of this show, and their poignant conclusion absolved the show of any sins (see below). Jenna Pinchbeck (as Marvin’s ex-wife) delivers incredible vocals and at least one showstopper, “I’m Breaking Down.” 14 -year-old Vincent Crocilla, as Marvin’s son, displays vocal confidence and serious acting chops. The three-piece band, led by Dan Matarazzo, worked hard to give the concert a full sound.
What’s not: Often, the performances are so good that you forget that the actors are performing behind standing mics and music stands. Other times, the concert-style presentation really kills some of the more dynamic moments in the show’s score. Director Jennie Eisenhower works hard to be inventive with her staging, but the relatively shallow playing area begins to feel a little cramped over the 2.5+ hour presentation.
Take away: Standout performances leave me wanting a full production!
[11th Hour Theatre Company at Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N American Street]
October 12-20, 2019; 11thhourtheatrecompany.org/shows/falsettos