(photo credit: PR)
In the popular show-within-a-show series 30 Rock, an argument ensues in the writer’s room where it is debated whether one of the male cast members should wear a dress in a skit. “What? Everyone loves a dude in a dress. It’s in all of the best Bug Bunnies!,” one of the writers says, shocked that the matter was brought up for discussion at all.
It’s easy to imagine a similar line was uttered by the creators of Miscast! 2: Less Grease; More Hairspray as they decided which songs to include in their Broadway revue production.
The show is a delightful mix of popular Broadway standards, performed by the least likely candidates. In the topsy- turvy world of Miscast! 2, songs traditionally sung by men are performed by women, duets become solos and contemplative solitary songs become an ensemble affair.
The production of Miscast!, sponsored by the English-language performing arts organization The Stage, in conjunction with Tel Aviv’s cultural center Yad Labanim, has a mostly bare-bones set. The draw is the talented (mostly young) cast, who gamely sing their hearts out.
Some highlights include S. Asher Gelman in a flimsy macramé black slip, sauntering across the stage and belting out “Buenos Aries” from Evita with such confidence it would do Madonna herself proud. Another stand-out was the performance of one of the less popular show tunes, “I Am Adolpho” from The Drowsy Chaperone. Shiri Epstein did exactly what needed to be done in order to sell the performance to audiences.
With thrusting hips and a confident swagger, Snitcher channeled the all the male bravado necessary for making that character come to life in an entertaining and humorous way. Dorin Sidman, too, tapped into the crazy and desperate stalker that lays dormant within us when singing Homemade Fusion’s “To Excess.”
But the showstopper in the show’s nearly two-hour runtime was Tom Idelson’s portrayal of Christine from The Phantom of the Opera. With Idelson achieving an impressive and surprising falsetto in a notoriously difficult song to sing, he certainly didn’t need the poufy white taffeta dress to make his rendition work, but it was the icing on an already delicious cake.
Broadway lovers tend to be very specific about how they want their musicals performed, and by whom. But with Miscast! 2, audiences were able to rediscover their favorite hits and realize that a fresh take can breathe new life into songs one knows inside-out.