Six years ago I reviewed In Transit Off Broadway and immediately forgot it. It’s an occupational hazard: You give a show focused attention, translate feelings into words and then move on to the next thing. My semi-amnesia could also be attributed to the material: an a cappella musical about stereotypical New Yorkers (aspiring stage diva, unemployed businessman, gay professional who won’t come out to his mother) on the subway, chasing their dreams, traveling fast but unsure if they’re going anywhere. Accompanying them and offering pearls of chill wisdom is a busking beatbox artist (Steven “Heaven” Cantor, who spits out prodigious vocal tracks).
This Broadway iteration, sprucely directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall and with a charming ensemble, better showcases the book and score (by writers and vocal arrangers who have worked on Frozen and the Pitch Perfect movies). But the central problem remains: harmonic overload. If you listen to Pentatonix on repeat and own the box set of Glee, you might spend 100 minutes in bliss. The rest of us will grow tired of numbers that sound like ’70s sitcom theme songs or advertising jingles. This is where I get off.
Circle in the Square Theater (Broadway). Book, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth. Directed and choreographed by Kathleen Marshall. With Margo Seibert, James Snyder, Justin Guarini, Telly Leung, Erin Mackey. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission. Click here for full ticket and venue information.
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