The New Yorkers in this subway-set musical first appear as flat, ordinary types—yet happily, there is depth and promise after all! Following seven characters stuck in a stalled subway car (we’ve all been there), Held Momentarily reveals the vulnerability of stereotypically jaded Gothamites, their daily hustle suspended. Despite the static premise, there’s no shortage of action (for a climax, a woman gives birth) and the material (book and songs by Oliver Houser and James Zebooker) delivers comedy and riveting drama, portrayed zestfully by a young cast. Strangely, there’s a conspicuous lack of earbuds and smartphones, the devices we use to disconnect ourselves: A stronger digital presence would have been useful and more believable. Also, Hunter Bird’s direction can’t quite strike a balance between youthful, energetic singing and dancing and intense, sometimes overwrought dialogue.—Jeffrey Cedeno
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