Cougar the Musical - we play catch-up with the long running off-Broadway hit about three 40something women . . . Read More

Cougar te Musical| A CurtainUp theater review> CurtainUp
The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
Cougar the Musical

"Never ask a woman her age.-"-— Mary-Marie
Donna Moore’s Cougar the Musical has developed more bite as the months pass. This tuner about older women who develop a taste for younger men is still running strong at St. Luke’s Theatre. Now, in its twenty-third week, the show is slated to run through early March, and possibly beyond that.

This fierce little musical is set in New York City and traces their intertwining journeys as three women improbably meet that younger man, and confront the consequences of Cupid’s bow. You are transported into their present lives, learn about their respective pasts, and their unflagging resolve to improve their lot.

Lily (Mary Mossberg) is an attractive divorcee in her late 40s and the mother of twins who just packed off to college. Mary-Marie (Babs Winn) is a Southern gal in her late 50s, mother of an adult son, and owner of the Cougar Bar. Clarity (Brenda Braxton) is black, in her 40s, a financial analyst turned NYU grad student And, oh yes. There’s Buck (Danny Bernardy), a guy in his 20s, who plays the multiple characters of Twilight Dude, Bourbon Cowboy, Dr. Love, Goliath, Naked Peter, and cross-genders himself into Eve, an older Asian manicurist.

Cougar is n is designed to turn your notions about over-40 women inside-out. Moore has a mischievous sense of the do’s and don’t of dating for menopausal women and goes ahead and breaks the rules in creative and flirtatious ways. Watching the women singing, dancing, deliberating, or simply diving into a new relationship is fun, and inspiring. They are sometimes takie risks that audience members in similar circumstances wouldn’t dare take. But that's much of the show's appeal.

The songs are bold and sassy. From the opening number “On the Prowl” belted out by the ensemble in skin-tight outfits, to the sterner-toned “My Terms” sung by Babs Winn’s Mary-Marie, to the more contemplative closing number “At the End of the Day,” the the songs propel the narrative forward and serve to unpack the minds and hearts of these women. Although no collective truth emerges “Say Yes” certainly hints at the female empowerment theme, , especially affirming mature women who have the courage to pick up the pieces of their lives and reassemble,them into a fresh vital whole. Though romantically-tinged the heavier stress is on women becoming self-aware, and perhaps a wee bit wary of the opposite sex.

The dances are by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, who also directs. Most are cougar-inspired, a combination of sprung rhythm and sharp claw-like movements. No doubt your eye will be drawn to the veteran dancer Braxton. As Dance Captain, she ups the level of the choreography, adding definition and zest to each routine.

Ultimately the hit-making charm is the acting. Babs Winn, as Mary-Marie, is delicious as the Southern-fried gal who calls the shots (alcoholically, and otherwise) at the Cougar Bar. Even in the farcical scene with Naked Peter, that pushes her character into caricature, she manages to pull it off with a touch of blushing dignity. Mary Mossberg, as Lily, makes a good showing as the divorcee, twice over, and is the most likeable character on stage. Brenda Braxton, as Clarity, is the triple-threat with her warm, intelligent performance. Danny Bernardy, acquits himself well in his multiple male parts and his solo turn as Eve, the Asian manicurist.

Although Moore waffles by not clearly defining Cougar as a serious musical, you get a lot of lessons on love, spring-autumn relationships, and the ways that the English language can color your thinking about men and women. The very title of the show is indicted via an academic reflection by Clarity for its anti-feminist overtones. After all, it is a label that is derogatory to women, suggesting a low-transformation from a human state to a bestial one.

Ultimately Ms. Moore poses the implicit question: Should an older woman really be called a “cougar” if she is dating a younger man? Why not just call her a woman, and leave it at that.

Cougar the Musical
Written by Donna Moore
Directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett
Cast: Mary Mossberg (Lily), Brenda Braxton (Clarity), Mary-Marie (Babs Winn). Danny Bernardy (Buck, Twilight Dude, Eve, Bourbon Cowboy, Naked Peter, Goliath)
Sets and Lighting Design: Josh Iacovelli
Costumes: Dustin Cross
Music Director: Jana Zielonka
Choreography: Lynne Taylor-Corbett
Stage Manager: Josh Iacovelli
St. Luke’s Theatre at 308 W. 46th Street. Tickets: $39.50 - $89.50. Phone 212/239-6200 or visit
From 8/10/12; opening 8/26/12; open run
Friday @ 8pm; Saturday @ 2pm; Sunday @ 2pm.
Running time: 90 minutes with no internission
Reviewed by Deirdre Donovan based on press performance of 1/19/13
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of  Cougar the Musical
  • I disagree with the review of Cougar the Musical
  • The review made me eager to see  Cougar the Musical
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

Visit Curtainup's Blog Annex
For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter
Subscribe to our FREE email updates: E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message. If you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Anything Goes Cast Recording Anything Goes Cast Recording
Our review of the show

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

©Copyright 2013, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from