When you originally walk up the stairs into the cozy Triad Theatre on the second floor of 158 West 72 street for â€œBroadwayâ€™s Next Hit Musical,â€ you donâ€™t know what to expect. A small stage, with most of the space being allocated to a piano, you wonder how many laughs will be in store.
However, those worries are quickly put to rest in what ultimately becomes a hysterical evening that you wonâ€™t soon forget. Lovable and incredibly quick-witted Jeff Rogers, the MC for the night, tells the audience several times to keep drinking because it makes the show even funnier, but in all honesty, even the most straight-laced, rigid and boring person will find something to laugh at during the show.
Simply put, every member of the cast is extremely talented, which makes it impossible to pick a favorite by the end of the two-hour show. The fact that all the comedy is improvisational and completely made up on the spot makes everyone associated with this performance something special.
Excellently paced, the mic work of Rogers and musical ability of pianist Eric March set the scene for both the silly fake awards show and the even sillier musical that follows it. As a result, for two hours, drinks will be had and laughs will incur. How many times however is impossible to measure though.
These guys are that good.
The way it all works is simple. Before the show, all attendees are given cards to write the title of a song on. It could be a real song, or a fake one, and as expected, all the songs performed were ones with made-up titles. Ranging from such classics as â€œShave my beard and rub my toes,â€ to â€œT2 (2X Tempo),â€ the members of the cast perform on the spot and afterward, the crowd picks their favorite song. From that favorite, a musical is put together that not only showcases the improvisational skills of the cast, but also the music abilities of pianist March, who is able to change the feel of a scene just as quickly as the actors on stage.
Of the cast, Kobi Libii was the first of the five cast members to truly get the audience to pop, but each member of the cast had their moments. Rebecca Vigil was hilarious with her facial expressions, French accent and wit. Robert Z. Grant, who ended up stealing the show with his miming, was probably the quickest of all the cast members and slipped in a handful of memorable one-liners. Deb Rabbai and Rob Schiffman were sharper than a pound of cheddar cheese, both as a pair and alone, but worked their best together.
Their first performance, where they play an epileptic nurse/former veterinarian and over the top doctor was hilarious, but the roles they take on in the full play over the second half of the performance show their true talent. Their ability to come up with the most random things at a momentâ€™s notice added an extra level to the performance that takes the production from great to nearly perfect. It should be said as well that Rabbai has a pretty solid singing voice as well.
All in all, when the quaint and comfortable atmosphere of the triad is combined with great service from the bar staff and a one of a kind show with some of the best improv actors youâ€™ll ever find, itâ€™s quite possible that â€œBroadwayâ€™s Next Hit Musicalâ€ is the type of production you could see more than once- and enjoy every single time.