Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
Angel in the City
Producer Steve Leber recently presented a staged developmental reading showcase production of the new rock musical Angel In The City at The Atlantic Theater in Jupiter, Florida. In the summer of 2008 when Peter Guliano brought forth his fully produced and recorded rock opera The Pimp and The Prostitute, producer Steve Leber immediately recognized its originality and potential. After many months of fine tuning, the musical (newly renamed Angel In The City) emerged in this showcase production featuring a book, music and lyrics by Peter Guliano with additional material and vocal arrangements by Frank Licari.
Angel In The City tells the story of an innocent, small-town girl named Melanie who comes to New York City to pursue a career as a model. With her abusive home life behind her, she arrives to meet an agent to whom she has given all her money. Discovering she has been swindled, Melanie is robbed and assaulted on her first night. She is rescued by a pimp named Lester who transforms her into a working girl. Melanie is introduced to, and falls in love with, Mr. G., Lester's top client. When Lester's gentleman's club is raided by police, Melanie refuses to pay the police. She finds herself, aided by Mr G., defending the rights of prostitution in court. The story ends with Melanie finding love and fame in a very different way than she ever anticipated.
The best way to describe Angel In The City is as a combination of the storyline from the film Pretty Woman and the musical styling of the Broadway musical Rent. This production used tracked accompaniment, which fit the rock feel well, but was sometimes heavy-handed in the use of percussion and guitar. The showcase presentation appeared quite finished, with staging, choreography and costumes. Though it was lacking in lighting finesse, it made excellent use of the space provided, and the choreography was wonderful. The dancers narratively weave their way through scenes, sometimes as the focal point and sometimes as the background. Choreographer Maria Konrad's stye has some of he sensual feel of Fosse's in Chicago.
The cast was solid vocally, but rather uneven in the acting department. Tiffany Huet as Melanie has a pop-rock voice that still maintains enough loveliness to provide vulnerability. Her romantic lead John Cheverny as Mr. G. was sometimes blank and stiff in his acting, though he sang the part well, and very much looked the role. Tom Pollard as Lester did a bit more posturing than acting. He just needs to relax and enjoy the role more. Some of the ensemble actors popped out in cameo moments as more experienced and polished actors than the leadssuch as Christina Aexander, who was delightful as a bag lady named Duchess, and Gail Byer as the no-nonsense Judge. As a whole, this production had good singing, great choreography, and a decent premise. Though is shows substantial promise, Angel in the City needs a bit of reworking in the book and one or two more memorable melodies, as the only memorable song in the show at present is "Beautiful Angel."
Angel In The City writer, composer and lyricist Peter Giuliano is also the writer and producer of "The Guy Harvey" Theatre of the Sea. The production, which toured across the United States, was reviewed by Dr. Carl Roper of the Smithsonian Institute as "one of the most significant works of it's kind." Giuliano is the creator and host of the political talk show For Adult Minds Only, which aired beginning in 2003, and was seen weekly, at 11:30 pm from Boston to Miami. For information on participation in Angel In The City please contact Steve Leber at 561-413-9679 or at Steve@lifestylecomm.com.
This production of Angel In The City appeared March 1st and 2nd, 2010 at the Atlantic Theatre inside the Atlantic Arts Academy in Jupiter. The Atlantic Theatre is a professional theater employing Equity and non-Equity local performers. The affiliated Arts Academy offers classes for children and adults. For tickets to this show, and information on their season and their class schedule, please contact Jesse Furman at 561-575-4942 or at Jesse@AtlanticArtsAcademy.com.