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If you've ever thought that Dorothy Parker's jaded poem "Résumé"
might be a terrific inspiration for a musical, Standby
could be just the show for you. Five strangers find themselves in an airport awaiting a flight, but all is not as simple as it seems, and they haven't been gathered at random. The show's core issues carry enough weighty baggage to make a smooth lift-off challenging; not every musical could pull off a number about combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, for example. But under Marc Connor Eardley's tight direction, Standby
—with music by Keith Robinson and Amy Baer, and book and lyrics by Alfred Solis and Mark-Eugene Garcia—successfully takes on difficult subjects even as it hews to straightforward musical-theater conventions. The seasoned pros of the cast are not just talented vocalists, but also charismatic and easy on the eyes. A departure from the usual Fringe fare, this is one of the festival's best bargains: For a mere $15, Standby
delivers a first-class experience. (Visit the FringeNYC Encore Series website
for more information.)—Scott Wooledge