The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings


SEARCH CurtainUp



Etcetera and
Short Term Listings



LA/San Diego






Free Updates
NYC Weather
A CurtainUp Review

What In the World: The NEWSical

John  Flynn, Eadie Scott  & Kelly Howe
John Flynn, Eadie Scott & Kelly Howe as the ghosts of the Kennedy clan commenting on their latest political in-law, the Governor of California
There's no denying that "Denial" is just one of a number of clever as clever musical satires in Rich Crom's What in the World: The NEWSical Revue. Besides that already tried and true number there's a heavenly rant by Rose Kennedy, flanked by her son Jack and his wife Jackie (sporting her famous pillbox hat, naturally) about a Republican Kennedy spouse now governor of Cal-ee-for-nee-a. . . two priests recruiting (with caveats) new priests . . .  Michael Jackson getting advice from Peter Pan about dealing with the lost boys of his own Neverland. . .  The Department of Homeland Security spoofed courtesy of a telephone hot line operator explaining the latest "color alert" to the president and two little old ladies singing about the thrills to be found via airline security checks. I could go on.

 Kelly Howe  as  Michael Jackson  J
Kelly Howe as Michael Jackson
There's also no denying that Crom's generally on-target "NEWSical" numbers are slowed down by some that are too drawn-out and hardly ripped from the latest headlines. But that's the nature of most satirical revues. Forbidden Broadway pulls far too many numbers out of its trunk of previous incarnations. The annual visit of the Capitol Steps often presents barely altered or unaltered updates of much done routines. Viewed within the context of this genre, Crom's fearless take on a wide range of topical topics is enough of a breath of fresh air to overcome its shortcomings.

The talented four-member cast is a definite asset. I particularly liked Kelly Howe, the group's Off-Broadway newcomer, whose pixyish charm and throaty song delivery point to a promising career. All the performers are adept, versatile comedians with strong voices that are unnecessarily amplified by overhead miking given this postage-stamp sized theater. In the case of Christopher Regan's big booming voice this overmiking is downright irritating.

Correction: After posting the above, a representative of the show assured me that there is absolutely no miking. Seems ChristopherRegan just has a voice that's too big for this miniscule venue. Wouldn't it be nice to hear him let loose in a Regan-sized theater?!?!

The staging is bare bones -- four chairs, a back panel behind which the performers disappear long enough to change into David Kaley's simple but wonderfully varied and apt costumes. As director Collette Black might have worked with Rick Crom to trim the so-so numbers, so she might have helped the show by streamliningg these blackouts. It should be noted that the back panel also hides the very able one-man band, musical director and arranger John McMahon.

Since, according to the program notes, the material in this show changes constantly, no song list is included. I rather doubt that the changes are substantial enough to warrant a repeat $40 ticket expenditure. If the producers really want repeat visitors, they need to offer a substantial discount to returnees.

What in the World isn't Rick Crom's first show of this sort and surely won't be his last. I'd like to see him do a full-fledged book musical -- like the hit Urinetown in which he appeared as an actor.

What in the World: The NEWSICAL Revue
Written by Rick Crom,
Directed by Collette Black
Musical Director: John McMahon
Cast: Eadie Scott, Christopher Regan, John Flynn, Kelly Howe.
Set Design:
Costume Design: David Kaley
Running time: 90 minutes without intermission
John Houseman Studio 212-279-4200
Open ended run from 1/09/04; opening 1/22/04.
Mon, Thu - Sat at 8pm; Sat at 2pm; Sun at 3pm --$40.
Reviewed by Elyse Sommer based on performance 1/29 performance

Mendes at the Donmar
Our Review

At This Theater Cover
At This Theater

Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide

Ridiculous! The Theatrical Life and Times of Charles Ludlam
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam

Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers

The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century

metaphors dictionary cover
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.

The Broadway Theatre Archive


©Copyright 2004, Elyse Sommer, CurtainUp.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from