(title of show) lights up The Matchbox

Strong performances fuel ‘love letter to musical theatre’

Having been touted as ‘a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical’ audiences are in for something fun and completely unique with [title of show], Ignition Theatre’s latest production at The Matchbox.

The show runs May 24-27 with curtain at 7:30 p.m.

Based on a true story, [title of show] is a musical about two guys named Hunter Bell (Dustin Clark) and Jeff Bowen (Spenser Pasman) who write a completely original musical starring themselves and their friends Susan Blackwell (Mallory Minerson) and Heidi Blickenstaff (Chantel Hutchison).

Soon the team opted to document the creation of the show itself, and rehearsals were constant rushes of creativity, writing and imagination.

Their production [title of show], landed in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. It premiered there in the fall of 2004 and wound up being a hit.

Then is went to an off-Broadway production at the Vineyard Theatre in 2006 and won three Obie Awards. Next up, it hit Broadway’s Lyceum Theatre in 2008.

Directed by Matt Grue, the engaging show really shines from start to finish and that is mainly because of the outstanding performances of the cast. Clark and Pasman are superb as Hunter and Jeff respectively. Viewers have the fun of watching the unexpected unfold – an unlikely idea for a show blossom into a popular and critical hit. There are ups and downs along the way, but it all works towards a rich time in each of the characters lives.

As Susan, Mallory Minerson is a joy to watch as well – full of energy with a razor-sharp knack for comic timing. It was hilarious to see someone so clearly uninhibited in tackling as role – a real pleasure.

The same can be said for Hutchison who audiences will recognized form her many past projects in Red Deer. Like Minerson, she’s a dramatic and comedic force in her own right, and a delight to watch as she delves into the [title of show] project.

Of course, outstanding musical numbers abound, with highlights including Two Nobodies In New York, Part of It All, Change It/Don’t Change It/Awkward Photo Shoot, What Kind of a Girl Is She? and Nine People’s Favourite Thing.

Grue always assembles exactly the right people for virtually every show he directs, and [title of show] is further proof of his knack for not only selecting the best talent but the correct talent for a particular part. These four actors work so well together; there is an amazing sense of ease with which they relate to each other. It all makes for a stronger show brimming with heart and passion for the craft.

As Grue had earlier pointed out, [title of show], at its core, is about pursuing your dreams, “the compromises that are made along the way and that it’s never too late.”

Rounding out the creative team are the aforementioned Chantel Hutchison and Dustin Clark who also handle the choreography and sound design respectively; Patrick Beagan (lighting design), Spenser Pasman and Jane Mueller (musical directors), and Stephanie Ridge (costume design and stage management).

[title of show] carries a discretionary warning for coarse language.

Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for students and seniors. They’re available at The Matchbox box office. Charge by calling 403-341-6500 or visit www.ignitiontheatre.ca.

mweber@reddeerexpress.com

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