Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
The backstory, laid out at the beginning of the show, involves an ambitious girl who envies her younger sister's musical talent, which she steals (destroying the sister's life along the way) through a process involving a mysterious green elixir and a snake. However, the sister leaves behind a baby daughter, Tina (Desi Oakley), who grows up to love music as much as her mother did. The older sister becomes a genius music producer named Daniella Espere (Migliaccio), using her dark arts to create the ultimate pop starand now Tina is ready for that role. (Daniella could conceivably have used the star-making spell on herself, but she didn't. By the way, who and where is Tina's father?)
Daniella educates Tina in the perils of show biz by pitting the newcomer against two current stars, hot singer Piper (Diana Huey) and sleek dancer Neela (Jamie Eacker), for the chance to headline an upcoming show. Meanwhile, Daniella has set up Tina in a penthouse suite in New York City's Plaza Hotel, where she develops an awkward friendship with bellboy and aspiring songwriter Jeff (Sam Edgerly).
As directed by Eric Schaeffer, Migliaccio walks off with the show in her sleek black wig (designed by Anne Nesmith) and chic but reptilian black costumes by Frank Labovitz, oozing her way around Paul Tate dePoo III's modular set and tossing off lines like "A woman of my stature can't afford to sleep." Oakley is certainly game, but her character is overmatched for most of the plot. Eacker and especially Huey shine in roles that one wishes were larger and Bobby Smith gives a dignified performance as the traumatized twin brother of Tina's mother.