Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Burnt Part Boys

"The Burnt Part Boys" at Playwrights Horizons, May 14, 2010

Playwrights Horizons brings their first new musical since 2008 and it's a welcome offering..

This new musical tells the emotional story of Jake and Pete Twitchell, brothers who lost their father in a coal mine explosion in 1952, the titular "burnt part."  Ten years later, 18 year old Jake (Charlie Brady) has dropped out of high school to work in the mines, while still taking care of his 14 year old brother since their mother has withdrawn from life with a bottle.  Pete (Al Calderon) lives in the fantasy of movies at the local drive-in, conjuring fatherly images of John Wayne as Davy Crockett in "The Alamo" along with Jim Bowie and Sam Houston (all Michael Park), since he can't really remember his own father.  Pete and his buddy Dusty (Noah Galvin) begin a quest to stop the mining company from reopening the burnt part, meeting up with Frances (Molly Ranson), a girl from their class whose father also died in the 1952 explosion.  Frances has exiled herself to the forest after the "scissor incident," involving the shorn locks of a taunting classmate.  The quest takes a predictable turn as Jake and his buddy Chet (Andrew Durand) follow the boys in an attempt to stop Pete from his plan.

Mariana Elder's book is functional, supported nicely by Chris Miller's score, less so by Nathan Tysen's greeting card lyrics.  It is Joe Calarco's direction and musical staging that hold this show together.  He elicits moving performances from his cast, superseding the material.  Standouts are Mr. Park in his multiple roles, Mr. Durand as Chet, Jake's best friend, and Mr. Calderon as Pete.  Brian Prather's simple set flexes well for the multiple location requirements, fully complemented by Chris Lee's lighting.

The Burnt Part Boys runs through June 13.

Discount offer from Playwrights Horizons:

A New Musical
By Mariana Elder, Chris Miller, and Nathan Tysen
Direction and Musical Staging by Joe Calarco

Blog reader DISCOUNT! Use code “BPGR”
Limit 4 tickets per order. Subject to availability.

Order by May 24 with code BPGR and tickets are only
·        $45 (reg. $70) for all performances April 30 – May 9
·        $55 (reg. $65) for all performances May 11 – June 13

HOW TO ORDER: Order online at Use code BPGR.
Call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 (Noon-8pm daily)
Print and present this blog post at the Ticket Central box office, 416West 42nd Street (Noon-8pm daily).

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