The Chocolate Show! 47th Street Theatre (see Off Broadway). Book and music by Alan Golub and Laura Goldfader. Lyrics by Golub. Directed by Dan Foster. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 30mins. No intermission.
The Chocolate Show!: In brief
The winsomely daffy Emily McNamara plays a cocoa-bean queen hosting a pageant to choose her successor in this new musical comedy by Alan Golub and Laura Goldfader. Dan Foster directs.
The Chocolate Show!: Theater review by Raven Snook
Like one of those artisanal candies that combines too many disparate ingredients, The Chocolate Show! doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it an interactive comedy about Cookie Conwell (cabaret stalwart Emily McNamara), who’s reluctantly passing on her World Queen of the Cocoa Bean crown to one of the hungry contestants pulled from the audience? Or is it a musical revue of mostly vanilla songs about sweets? Or perhaps it’s a campy history lesson about the evolution of chocolate, because yes, that’s mixed in there, too.
Real-life chocoholic couple Alan Golub and Laura Goldfader’s confused confection fares best when it sticks to being a tween-friendly romp. My eight-year-old ate it up, literally (samples are dispensed), and got the added treat of stage time during one of three mildly amusing participatory segments in which competitors show off their chocolate-related art, modeling and trivia skills. The history-of-cacao bits are forgettable, not to mention lost on younger viewers. And then there are the tunes, which, though performed with gusto by the ensemble (Laura D'Andre, Talene Monahon, Andrew Pandaleon and James Patterson) and live band, don’t have much flavor, save for one. Sung dreamily by Monahon, “Kids Again” is a wistful ode to the power of chocolate to turn grumpy grown-ups into gooey children. It’s one of the few moments worth savoring in this otherwise bland, over-long attraction.—Theater review by Raven Snook