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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 12
It Shoulda Been You - breaks ground with a twist
Arts & Entertainment
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It Shoulda Been You - breaks ground with a twist

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

It Shoulda Been You
Village Theatre
Issaquah through April 22
Everett: April 27-May 20


This cast is the bomb! Every one of the 13 members of the world-premiere musical It Shoulda Been You (book and lyrics by Brian Hargrove, music by Barbara Anselmi) at Village Theatre gets to shine in their own musical moment. That's one of the particularly sweet parts of the musical.

This is a wedding musical, which seems a bit chancy. How much do we really need to see weddings on stage? For at least the first act, it doesn't really break any new ground. It has some unique features because it's more a behind-the-scenes focus on the sister and mother of the bride and the wedding planners than on the bride and groom. There is also a Jewish/Christian-rich-snob aspect (why are the Christians always rich snobs?) that creates some of the fun, but none of the break-through-ness. Mostly because there really isn't a conflict between religions. The Jews aren't thrilled with the Christian groom, but neither are the Christians anti-Semites, so the biggest problem might be the insertion of the prenup at the last minute.

So, the uniqueness, and the reason why this musical might actually break some ground, is in a big twist that anyone reviewing is not supposed to mention. Without revealing the actual twist, SGN readers would be interested because the musical can be thought of as a great demonstration of marriage equality. Not everyone is in love with whom they're traditionally supposed to love.

A main plot is the focus on the sister of the bride, Jenny, who is older and unmarried, and her mother distastefully suggests that she'd make a great catch if she just lost a few pounds. Jenny is determined to make her sister's day perfect. That means making sure that Rebecca's (Mara Solar) ex-boyfriend and Jenny's ex-best-friend, Marty, doesn't ruin the day when he shows up trying to stop the wedding.

Kat Ramsburg leads off the show with a great opening number that sets the tone ('I Never Wanted This') and she and Joshua Carter are the cute best-friend couple that never got together. From the moment we meet Marty, we want them to be together.

Then there is Albert (Dennis Bateman), the extraordinary, extra-sensory-perceptive 'I only want to serve' wedding planner, and his quirky team (Angie Louise and John David Scott). They get a fun song ('Song of Albert') where everything that has ever treatened to go wrong at a wedding is saved by Albert.

Rebecca's parents - mother Judy (Leslie Law) and father Murray (John Dewar) - sing 'It Shoulda Been You' to Marty as he arrives, leaving no question as to whom the family wished were the groom. Brian's (Timothy Wilson) parents (John Patrick Lowrie and Jayne Muirhead) are also not very happy with the marriage. In fact, Georgette (Muirhead) gets a stop-the-show number about wanting to be the center of her son's life, even if he has to be Gay for that to happen ('Where Did I Go Wrong'). Even the best man (Aaron C. Finley) and the bridesmaid (Diana Huey) get a funny song when they sing to the bride and groom at the reception ('Love You Till the Day').

Law and Muirhead steal the show. It's almost a show about mothers! In a pitch-perfect cast, they manage to be hysterical and real and funny, at the same time.

A fun set (there are so many signs, it's almost subtitled) by Carey Wong moves us into and around the many hotel rooms, including a bathroom. Costumes by Melanie Burgess are full of color and subtly emphasized each family set with complementary garb. A suitably magical moment at the end transforms Jenny into the beauty that she's meant to be. Choreography by Christian Duhamel emphasizes the kitsch and the fun.

For more information, go to www.villagetheatre.org or call 425-392-2202.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com.

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