In Transit

Subway riders come together for an a cappella chamber musical.





  • James Leynse






Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>3/5

Let us deduce the target demo for In Transit, an a cappella chamber musical set mostly in the subway. First, prospective ticket buyers are hard-core Gleeks who graduated from high-school chorus to college vocal troupe. Second, they moved to New York recently, so they're still amazed at how wacky and challenging this darn city can be. Third, they commute to work every day and it's driving them bananas! Beyond this narrow band of potential fans, who will clasp this cute if slender work to their bosom? The gimmick of an instrument-free musical in four-part harmony soon wears off, leaving you with a generic urban rom-com that outstays its welcome after 45 minutes.

Actually, there are simulated instruments, drums and electronic sounds provided by human beat-box Chesney Snow. Spitting into a mike and underscoring six singers, Snow plays a gallant, philosophical panhandler who kindly helps a handful of stressed-out commuters with advice and words of wisdom. (He's a magical busker!) Alas, Snow's troubled commuters run a familiar range: wanna-be actor (Denise Summerford) waiting for her big break; gay Texan (Tommar Wilson) who can't come out to his Bible Belt mother; unemployed ex-broker (Graham Stevens) seeking redemption; and single gal (Hannah Laird) smarting from a breakup.

While the book is stale, at least Mary-Mitchell Campbell's intricate vocal arrangements are skillfully layered and performed. And Snow's bubbly beats keep the score moving along. If the night's overworked metaphor is about being stuck en route to something better in life, the talented cast labors valiantly to create the sonic illusion of movement.

See more Theater reviews

Primary Stages. Book, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth. Dir. Joe Calarco. With ensemble cast. 1hr 30mins. No intermission.