Baby-The Musical played on Broadway for 283 runs between 1983 and 1984 and was nominated for 7 Tony awards. Yet I never saw it, I was in college at the time. I love this show and can’t wait to go see it again, I will be humming the songs and quoting this for the remainder of my days. It was absolutely fantastic!
Book by Sybille Pearson, music by Grammy nominated David Shire and lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., who also helped write Miss Saigon. This musical team creates complex harmonies, fast paced hilarious lyrics and a subject that all of us love, who doesn’t love a baby? Directed by Igor Goldin and music direction by Jeffrey Lodin, Annapolis is in for a professional New York production. What was most entertaining was the lyrical banter, quick and poignant, sweet and real. I was laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time.
It was absolutely fantastic!
Baby discusses fertility and sex, and is appropriate for older children 10+ and everyone else alive. You must, no matter what your summer plans, see this show this summer. You will be talking about it for generations. Ladies, think about calling up your mom and taking her with you! I would also think twice before taking a first date to this particular show as I took my husband to see Follies for our anniversary and he thought I was trying to tell him that I was thinking of divorcing him. You don’t want to give the guy/gal any ideas too early in a relationship.
This lesser known musical chronicles 3 couples hoping or being thrust into parenthood. The first couple, young still in college, brings to life the fear of commitment and lack of resources so many of us experience when thinking of the enormity of change that a baby brings to one’s life. Lauren Wright’s portrayal of Lizzie Fields a giddy lyricist who accidentally gets pregnant, has the controlled sweet voice of youth, and the enigmatic understanding that she is no longer quite in control of her own body.
Her beau, Danny Hooper, delightfully played by Nick DeVito, with his Michael Jackson moves and his Roy Orbison voice, is a wannabe composer deciding to take a job he really doesn’t want, in order to have the money to help with his new family. Realizing that composers rarely don’t have day jobs, he exemplifies a father’s sacrifice for the family.
Sexy and beautiful, tall and talented Erin Wegner Brooks, plays the part of Pam Sakarian, a basketball coach plagued by fertility problems and unfulfilled dreams of motherhood. Her voice and expression, the lyrics and her plight brings suspense as we share in her hopes and dreams.
Nick Sakarian played by the delicious Jon Reinhold, has a world-class baritone voice and is tall and athletic strong but sensitive. We find that it is his low sperm count that is to blame for the couple’s troubles. He feels emasculated as he is unable to what billions have done before him. The doctor’s orders and baby sex is something that all women with friends have heard about. Having to plan times of day regardless of your mood, in order to synchronize your cycle and optimize the chance of successful pregnancy is about as romantic as cleaning your bathroom. But watching these two energetic bunnies chase each other and try to make baby sex as enjoyable as possible was charming and real.
The brilliantly written lyrics of, “I Want It All,” brings laughter to the parents in the audience, as these naïve youngsters desiring to become parents and keep their lives the same. Ha! I say it again, ha! They might want it all but we all know, they will be making sacrifices and changes.
Our third couple may have been most empathetic to most of opening night’s audience of older theatergoers. The Macnallys are wealthy parents with grown children, getting ready to empty nest and downsize, to find that at 43, she is pregnant. Repeating that great circle of life, with all the joy and drama, while 20 years older, requires careful consideration. Arlene Macnally played by Joy Hermalyn surely has the best range of any singer on this stage. Her low notes and her stage presence remind me of a young Bette Midler, but unlike Bette, Ms. Hermalyn has some high A’s to share!
And kudos to costume designer Tristan Raines, I felt Arlene’s clothing made this younger actress fit with into the older mother’s role. Handsome and smart Alan Macnally, played by Erick Pinnick, a gifted baritone, plays the warm loving husband who misses his children and envisions his home once again full of laughter and youth.
Interesting usage of single sexed harmonies in “Ladies Singing Their Song” and the men in “Fatherhood Blues” shows the subtle cleverness of this production. A barbershop sound with the men and women show that men and women look at these changes in life completely different. Fantastic harmonies make you appreciate that the score is demanding and distinctive. Most of scenes are in a bedroom, and the cast uses different quilts and pillows to quickly move from one room to the next, turning over quilts and separating beds let the audience understand we are changing scenes without a moment wasted.
While there were oodles of stereotyping in the show, I laughed hardest when realtor Mrs. Hart, the Macnally’s contemptuous realtor, played by Emily Freeman enters the stage. With sarcastic wit she declares the Macnally’s large 5 bedroom home to be an outdated fixer upper. My full-time job is that I am a realtor, and while I may have had times that I would want to utter Mrs. Hart’s sentiments I know I never will.
I also had the joy of taking my 21-year-old daughter, part of the little perks one gets when you review theater for the joy of it. She adored the show, especially “The Story Goes On,” speaking of every generation feeling similar to the next.
Advisory: Adult situations. This show is appropriate for ages 14 and above.
Running Time: 1 hour 50 minutes with a 20 minute intermission.
Baby, The Musical is running through August 2, 2015 at The CTA Theatre Complex, 1661 Bay Head Rd, Annapolis, MD 21409. For ticket click here.