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The Mad Ones

  • Theater, Musicals
  • 3 out of 5 stars
The Mad Ones
Photograph: Courtesy Richard Termine
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Theater review by Raven Snook

With its socially insecure high school senior, tough-talking dead classmate and radio-ready score, Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk’s long-gestating musical is a bit like a certain other show now playing on Broadway. In The Mad Ones—we might call it Near Evan Hansen—high-strung overachiever Samantha (Krystina Alabado) stands paralyzed at a crossroads. Her overbearing single mom (Leah Hocking) wants her to go to Harvard. Her sweet but simple boyfriend (Jay Armstrong Johnson subbing for an ailing Ben Fankhauser) wants to settle down. Her no-holds-barred bestie (Emma Hunton) wants to drive away to freedom. But what does Samantha want?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to care. Kerrigan and Lowdermilk are good at crafting catchy theater pop; no wonder the likes of Jeremy Jordan and Aaron Tveit regularly perform their numbers. Under Stephen Brackett’s fluid direction, the vocally gifted performers deliver the songs with conviction. But Samantha is a cipher, and the show is weighed down by stock characters, familiar metatheatrical devices and multiple clichés. (Do millennials really still read On the Road for inspiration?) Although The Mad Ones might be enjoyable as an original cast album, on stage it has the same problem as many an angsty teen: It’s not as original as it thinks it is.

59E59 Theaters (Off Broadway). Book, music and lyrics by Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk. Dir. Stephen Brackett. With ensemble cast. Through Dec 17.

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Written by
Raven Snook

Details

Event website:
www.59e59.org
Address:
Price:
$25–$70
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