In the tradition of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Miracle or 2 Productions and Encore Attractions, in association with the Broward Stage Door Theatre, present the musical review Are We There Yet? Chances are, if you liked I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change and its look at dating and modern romantic relationships, you'll also like Are We There Yet? and its look at the modern American nuclear family.
The show's title is taken from the opening scene which features Mom, Dad and two children on a road trip and that inevitable question "Are we there yet?" What follows is a collection of musical numbers and vignettes, both comedic and poignant, about family - and all sorts of families. As the show points out, "You can pick your friends, but you can't pick your family." Who better to punch our buttons yet forgive our foibles?
Are We There Yet? is written by the team of James Hindman, Ray Roderick, and Cheryl Stern, with music by John Glaudini. It also features additional music by Tom Kochan and lyrics by Yvonne Adrian. The show premiered in Wichita, Kansas; this production in Coral Springs is part of the show's fine-tuning process, and it is well on the road to being a successful and entertaining musical review.
The music by John Glaudini features good use of harmony and is played well by live musicians led by Musical Director David Cohen. Some of the stand-out moments are the title song, the touching female duet "I Know She's Out There," the comedic "Baby Rap," the sentimental "Giving Her Away," the clever "Whiplash," and the closing song "Enjoy The Ride." A couple of other songs needing work or editing are "Coach Bob," which goes nowhere melodically, and "Ching, Ching, Ching," which is simply annoying. Two especially well done monologues are "Audrey Jr," a mother's tale of her gay son and his partner adopting a Russian orphan, and "Inheriting Laura," a son's heartwrenching reminiscence of his deceased Alzheimer's-stricken mother.
The four member cast of Krista Benson, Dan Kelley, Shawn Kilgore, and Lori Nutti turn in balanced performances. Shawn and Lori are the stronger of the four at playing both the comedic and the serious. Dan Kelley's strength is in the over-the-top genre of comedy, and he gets a little carried away at times, while Christa Benson seems short changed of meaty solos and acting moments. The set is crisp and clean in shades of lavender and gray, and the lighting and costumes work well for this show. The cast genuinely look as though they are enjoying themselves.
The Broward Stage Door production is scheduled to close before this review will be published; however, wherever it goes next, may all involved enjoy the ride!
Are We There Yet? opened June 1, 2005 and closed July 3, 2005 at the Broward Stage Door Theatre. The theatre is located at 8036 W. Sample Rd. in Coral Springs, Florida. The Stage Door Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company hiring local and non-local nonunion actors and actresses. Their two stages in Coral Springs as well as their 26th Street Theatre location in Ft. Lauderdale are open year round. For tickets and information, you may call 954-344-7765.