111 West 44th St. between Sixth & Seventh Aves.
Tuesday - Saturday through July 14, $49.50 - $169.50
This summer, two new musicals have been undeservingly anchored at the bottom of the Broadway box office, and just by coincidence, they are next-door neighbors on West Forty-Fourth St. One is Head Over Heels at the Hudson Theatre, the sensational reimagining of Sir Philip Sidney’s 1590 Elizabethan drama with Go-Go’s songs and a very funny LGBTQ sensibility. The other, at the Belasco, is the silly but fun, goofy yet charming Gettin’ the Band Back Together. Written by Tony-winning producer Ken Davenport (Kinky Boots, Groundhog Day) and the improv group the Grundleshotz and with music and lyrics by Mark Allen in his Broadway debut, the show might be too long and repetitive and overly self-deprecating, but it’s also a real crowd pleaser about second chances. To stir up enthusiasm, Davenport even takes the stage at the beginning, explaining that the show is based on real-life experiences, including his own time in a high school band. After being fired from his Wall Street broker job, forty-year-old Mitch Papadopoulos (Mitchell Jarvis) returns home to Sayreville, New Jersey, moving back in with his hot-MILF mother, Sharon (Marilu Henner). He encounters his former arch-nemesis, Tygen Billows (Brandon Williams), whose Mouthfeel lost to Mitch’s Juggernauts two decades before in the Battle of the Bands but has won the title every year since. Tygen has also gone on to own seventy-three percent of the local real estate, happily foreclosing on longtime residents while riding around in his sporty Pontiac Solstice and showing off his impressive chest hair. Tygen is even dating Mitch’s high school sweetheart, Dani Franco (Kelli Barrett).
When Tygen threatens to foreclose on Sharon, Mitch decides that he is going to put the group back together to challenge Mouthfeel in the upcoming Battle of the Bands. So he rounds up bass player and high school math teacher Bart Vickers (Jay Klaitz), who sucks at math; keyboardist and dermatologist Dr. Rummesh “Robbie” Patel (Manu Narayan), whose parents have arranged for him to marry a woman he has never met; and drummer and cop Michael “Sully” Sullivan (Paul Whitty), who is studying for his detective exam and is unable to admit his affection for fellow cop Roxanne Velasco (Tamika Lawrence). “This can’t be my life,” they declare in unison. After adding high school guitarist/rapper Ricky Bling (Sawyer Nunes), they hit the garage and start practicing for the big day while also taking stock of who they are and what the future holds for them. “’Cause dreams don’t matter / when the rent is coming due / You play it safe / and let the fantasy slip through,” Mitch sings, determined to change his path.
Gleefully directed by Tony winner John Rando (