[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts theatre review of Calvin Berger, book, music and lyrics by Barry Wyner, directed Richard Israel, musical direction by Anthony Lucca at The Colony Theatre running through March 26.
Calvin Berger is very loosely based on the classic, Cyrano de Bergerac. A young high school student, Calvin Berger, a little obsessed with his rather lovely and impressive nose, is in love. Rosanna is the gorgeous girl from school he dotes on, who of course hardly knows who he is at first. He tells no one, not even his wonderful best friend, Bret, who has a huge crush on him herself.
Enter the picture, the new boy, Matt. Hansom, sporty, sweet and dumb as a brick…in the most charming way, of course. Rosanna thinks he’s ‘cute’ and Matt, desperate to impress her rather than blabber nonsense due to his stunningly apocalyptic nerves, somehow manages to pursue Calvin to help.
It’s more Roxanne the movie than Cyrano, but who cares when the songs are this good and the actors this delightful!
There’s the usual high school jinks, some hilarious misunderstandings, and at its heart a love story. Calvin’s nose is of course perfectly fine, his hang ups are far more about teenage anxieties and a fear of growing up perhaps and he totally misses all the other issues that those all around him have. But that’s pretty typical! I’m so glad that the kids are nice. I’m so fed up with teenagers always being portrayed as jerks or nerds or sassy idiots. They are all just as complex as the rest of us and with an awful lot more to deal with on a daily basis than my generation, that’s for sure!
Calvin Berger is a brilliantly funny musical with a big heart and a thoughtful soul. It’s the perfect play to take your kids to, or your granny. The performances are dynamic and authentic. These actors are truly excellent. They fit perfectly together, and their voices are superb.
I also loved the set, which is very very clever…I can’t explain, you have to see it!
We are so lucky to have The Colony Theatre in the Valley. It’s a wonderful venue and they bring some great work to our theatre-loving Valley audience!
This show is running through March 26, so you have some time. However, you know how that goes, so get your tickets now!!
The cast features (in alphabetical order) Corinne Miller, Jordan Quisno, Frankie A. Rodriguez, and Jasmine Sharma.
Calvin Berger has book, music and lyrics by Barry Wyner and will be directed by Ovation Award-winner Richard Israel with musical direction by Anthony Lucca. Scenic design is by Alex M. Calle (award-winning designer for film, television, theatre, themed entertainment, theme parks, and public art installations all over the world), lighting design is by Martha Carter (Lottie Pratchett, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), costume design is by Joanie Coyote (The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables on Broadway), and sound design is by Julien Reneaud (music producer and audio engineer; credits include (Die Heart, Warrior Queen, The Drowsy Chaperone). Projection design is by Gabrieal Griego (also a producer, writer, and director of theatre and film), properties design is by John McElveney (Garry Marshall Theatre, Sierra Madre Playhouse, Academy Awards), and production stage manager is Julia Donlon.
Barry Wyner (Book, Music, and Lyrics) has written several musicals including Austin the Unstoppable, The Counselor, Sugar Plum, Stop!, and Something to Say. He has composed music for several world premiere plays, a BBC Radio play, The Actor’s Studio, AMDA, 78th Street Theater Lab, and more. He has won the Kleban Prize, Jerry Bock Award, Richard Rodgers Award, and Noel Coward Prize. He is a member of the BMI Advanced Musical Theatre Workshop.
Running through March 26.
555 N Third St. Burbank, CA 91502