“Held Momentarily” at the New York Musical Theatre Festival at the PTC Theater (Through Monday July 27, 2015)
“Held Momentarily” at the New York Musical Theatre Festival at the PTC Theater (Through Monday July 27, 2015) Book, Music, and Lyrics by Oliver Houser Developed with Hunter Bird Additional Material by James Zebooker and Hunter Bird Directed by Harry Shifman Reviewed by Joseph Verlezza Theatre Reviews Limited
“Held Momentarily” being presented as part of NYMF at PTC is certainly on the move and getting closer, I hope, to a prolific destination. Since first viewed at the 2014 NY International Fringe Festival it has experienced welcomed modifications that are beneficial to the growth of this pleasant chamber musical. In this present incarnation the book, music and lyrics are allowed to take center stage, reaching the audience on an essential emotional level, which enables the actors to access the material with determination and conviction. Choreography by Ben Hartley is never intrusive or affected but when incorporated lends a lighthearted touch with conventional movement in absurd situations. Music director Scott Stein, at the piano, is a driving force, insisting his musical posse evoke every passionate chord from the germane score to support poignant, heartwarming and robust moments.
The cast is intact except for the new passenger, Ciaran Bowling as Liam, who seems to join this journey with comfort and enthusiasm. The entire cast has been able to hone their craft to produce an impressive ensemble. Perhaps this is due in part to the new, deft direction of Harry Shifman. There seems to be a sharper focus with character exposition now blending well with emotional connection which intensifies situations, elevates the dramatic arc and most of all creates vulnerable persona. India Carney as Asherah (an important name change) gives a powerful performance creating a homeless rider with grace, dignity and a significant rendition of “If You See Something.” Geena Quintos infuses her complex Mindy with comic charm and intelligence, along with impressive vocals. Jordan Barrow as forlorn lover Stan, captures your heart with a sensitive performance never falling prey to stereotype. Yael Rizowy inhabits pregnant Sam with a precise amalgamation of optimism and delusion. James Zeebooker turns in an honest and sincere Greg with a graceful, effective transition.
It is a joy to witness the growth of a young new voice for the American musical, with a hope Mr. Houser (also turning in a fine performance as Cal) continues to develop this current work, as well as moving forward. There is room for improvement that will only result in a more powerful production that dissects complicated manifestations of a kaleidoscope of characters caught in a dire situation. Do not hesitate to catch one of the remaining performances. I assure you will not be disappointed.