NEWSical the Musical

Rick Crom turns headlines into punch lines.

Time Out Ratings :

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

A bouncy satirical revue of politics and pop culture, NEWSical doesn't so much bite its targets as peck away at them. Through songs and the occasional sketch, writer Rick Crom takes jovial stabs at a plethora of notorious makers of headlines. The residents of 1599 Pennsylvania Avenue await their new neighbors in one number, while CNN's Nancy Grace tackles the case of a comatose Snow White and those seven undocumented workers. Other merry ditties touch on Sonia Sotomayor's arrival at the Supreme Court ("Supreme Girls") and the Senate crooning a filibuster doo-wop ("We Say No").

But tunes featuring a bitter Hillary Clinton and the Botoxing of Nancy Pelosi and Joan Rivers have only a tad more life in them than the public option. And casting a Caucasian as the President may be appropriately forward thinking, but putting gigantic ears on him is awfully seventh grade. Credit director Mark Waldrop for steering the material at a brisk clip and a fantastic foursome of mostly Forbidden Broadway veterans for their dynamic takes on an assortment of celebs. Christine Pedi brings delicious sass to divas like Liza and Oprah, while the impish Christina Bianco sparkles as Sarah Palin and Celine Dion.

Michael West makes the most of his Obama assignment but impresses more in other roles, notably Dr. Phil as a square-dance caller. The standout, however, is newcomer Rory O'Malley, whose spirited turns as the Balloon Boy, a guy with restless leg syndrome and Susan Boyle are funnier than they have any right to be. It's too bad that, like the Obama administration, NEWSical has as many missed opportunities as it does possibilities.—Diane Snyder

47th Street Theatre. By Rick Crom. Dir. Mark Waldrop. With ensemble cast. 1hr 30mins. No intermission. Buy Tickets