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In Trousers 

Wednesday, Aug 25 1999
Falsettos creator William Finn's earlier pop operetta receives an enthusiastic, if unpolished, production by director Zanne Burdick and her cast. Marvin (Nick Hoffa) chose wrongly when two roads diverged, marrying a woman and fathering a child despite being gay. Now he's trying to get back to the road not taken. His high school girlfriend (Aimée Barile -- a smashing, hilarious cross between Nicole Kidman and a kewpie doll), his drama teacher (Mia Lobel), and his wife (Arwen Anderson) participate in the action and serve as a Greek chorus. Dramatizing a cliché is always difficult and Marvin's moaning about "me and them, me and men" doesn't help much. The music alternates between peppy Sondheim pop and moody Philip Glass-like arpeggios. Hoffa's singing is assured; the women's less so (especially Anderson, but she has good comic form in "I'm Breaking Down" and often hits the right emotional notes). Sarah Simon's set uses a small space ingeniously, but Michael Starobin's drum-heavy orchestrations often overwhelm the singers and his own piano playing. Still, the company commits to the play with energetic affection -- which is more than it deserves. "Forget what I've done and think about yourselves instead," Marvin advises the women he's wronged. Fuck you, Marvin.

About The Author

Joe Mader


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