The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review
With Glee

I wouldn't wish parents on anyone. And if you want, you can have mine.—Clay
With Gle
Zach Bandler, Dan Lawler, Max Spitulnik, Christopher Davis Carlisle, and Jason Edward Cook
(Photo: Gerry ooodstein)
If the boys in History Boys had sung, they might have been in a show something like With Glee. But as they didn't, the opportunity was left wide open for John Gregor, who wrote the book, music and lyrics for a new musical dealing with young men.

With Glee is set in Westbrook Academy, a Maine boarding school for boys. In the opening number, "Bad Kid School," we learn how five troubled youths end up at the school together.

Nathaniel (Christopher Davis Carlisle) blew up his school. Sam (Max Spitulnik), a poor kid from Pittsburgh, tried to earn extra cash by stealing a car. Scott (Zach Bandler), a pampered preppy, thought he was going to Disney World when his parents took him to the academy. Kip (Jason Edward Cook) wants to put on shows, but his parents want Westbrook to make a man of him. Clay (Dan Lawler), who has been at Westbrook for several years, has an unusual attachment to a model boat he has named Mortimer. All the adult roles (parents and Westbrook personnel) are played by Greg Horton and Erin Jerozal.

The boys are at first wary of each other, except for Nathaniel, who eagerly tries to make friends like a friendly puppy meeting strangers. But everyone, save Clay who can't stand his battling parents, wants nothing more than to get back home.

The problems these young men have are all too typical. They are unsure of their sexuality. They resent adults. They are misunderstood by their parents. They do not understand why they are taught irrelevant subjects at school. These conflicts keep the show rolling along, but the stereotypical nature of all the boys prevents the show from having the depth that makes a musical great.

Although With Glee has no major incident to sink your teeth into, the plot does thicken when, after a series of mishaps, the headmaster takes Clay's boat away. The boys decide to put on a musical (written by Kip, of course) as a diversion, so Sam can steal the boat while everyone is enjoying the performance. This musical has something to do with a German Nazi befriending and betraying boys at an academy not much different from Westbrook. It's just a bit more unlikely than Gregor's show.

The show might be improved if Gregor would make clear exactly how old these boys are. At one point they seem to be about 13. Then Sam hotwires a car and does an admirable job driving it away from Westbrook until running out of gas. Also, the boys' interest in girls seems a little advanced for very early adolescence, even in the 21st century.

As directed by Igor Goldin, the show is filled with gusto and humor. The score, old-fashioned and pre-Sondheim, echoes favorites from the heyday of Hollywood and Broadway musicals. There's even a Gilbert and Sullivan pastiche, "If You Want to Be a Vanderberg."

Carlisle, who has the greatest number of the songs, has a fine voice, and manages to give his character the most texture. But all of the actors make the most of the material they are given.

With Glee is certainly well named. It's as light and refreshing as the morning dew. But like the dew it soon evaporates.

With Glee
Book, Lyrics and Music by John Gregor
Directed by Igor Goldin
Cast: Zach Bandler (Scott), Christopher Davis Carlisle (Nathanial), Jason Edward Cook (Kip), Greg Horton (Dads/Professors/Headmaster), Erin Jerozal (Moms/Dr. Whitehead), Dan Lawler (Clay), Max Spitulnik (Sam)
Music Director: Daniel Feyer
Orchestrator: Rob Hartmann
Scene Design: Jen Price Fick
Costume Design: Tricia Barsamian
Lighting Design: Cory Pattack
Choreographer: Antoinette DiPietropolo
Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission
The Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row 410 West 42nd Street
From 7/10/10; opening 7/13/10; closing 8/01/10--extended to 8/29/10
July 13 @ 7:30PM (opening night), July 14-18th 8pm; July 18 3pm, July 20th 7:30pm; July 21-24 8pm; July 25 3pm
Tickets: $25, students $22 (212) 279-4200
Reviewed by Paulanne Simmons July 20, 2010
Musical Numbers

Bad Kid School/Nathaniel, Scott, Sam, Clay, Kip, Parents, Conductor
Gaul Was Divided Into Three Parts/Company
Clay's Song/Clay
If You Want To Be A Vanderberg/Scott's Dad, Company
Back to Mom's/Nathaniel, Clay
Normal/Nathaniel, Scott, Sam, Kip, Clay
Christmas Cheer/Boys
Amanda/Nathaniel, Boys
We're Going to Worcester/Boys
That Boat/Nathaniel
Tomas, A One Act Musical/Kip, Scott, Sam, Nathaniel
Co-ed Dorms/Boys
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of With Glee
  • I disagree with the review of With Glee
  • The review made me eager to see With Glee
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.

You can also contact us at Curtainup at Facebook , Curtainup at Twitter and at our Blog Annex . . . Curtain Up Blog Annex at Kindle
Subscribe to our FREE email updates with a note from editor Elyse Sommer about additions to the website -- with main page hot links to the latest features posted at our numerous locations. To subscribe, 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.
South Pacific  Revival
South Pacific

In the Heights
In the Heights

Playbill Broadway Yearbook


©Copyright 2010, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from