[title of show]

Music and lyrics by Jeff Bowen. Book by Hunter Bell. Dir. Michael Berresse. With Bowen, Bell, Heidi Blickenstaff, Susan Blackwell. Vineyard Theatre (see Off Broadway).

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GET WITH THE PROGRAM Blickenstaff, Blackwell, Bell and Bowen, clockwise from top left, wait for inspiration to strike.

GET WITH THE PROGRAM Blickenstaff, Blackwell, Bell and Bowen, clockwise from top left, wait for inspiration to strike.

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<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

Think the small-town, starry-eyed ingenue who dreams of her name in lights on the Great White Way is a quaint relic from showbiz’s golden age? The Broadway wanna-be is alive and well; she just has a cell phone, video on demand, access to Internet Broadway message boards and a closet full of dog-eared Playbills from shows she never saw. Oh, and her name is Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell and she’ll sleep with whomever it takes to reach the top. Bowen and Bell are the creative imps behind the irrepressible, self-referential metamusical [title of show], whose Seinfeldian conceit is that the duo is trying to create a new tuner for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, which is subsequently picked up by the Vineyard Theatre.

Aided and superlatively abetted by Broadway gypsy Heidi Blickenstaff and arch downtown veteran Susan Blackwell, the boys bat around ideas, slay their inner critics and indulge the slightest whim to generate material. It’s impossible to know what they took verbatim from life and what has been embellished, but why put them to the Million Little Pieces test? The bouncy songs (arranged and performed by keyboardist Larry Pressgrove) and the spare but efficient staging by Michael Berresse serve the in-jokey, catty but ultimately sweet-natured script. And hey, if their lives resemble an irreverent musical comedy, how can you begrudge them mining that for fame?—David Cote

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