By: Sandi Durell
Take every known disaster movie of the 70s and squeeze them into this new musical by Seth Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick and it all winds up brilliantly situated on a floating casino off a NYC pier.
Yes, they got them all – the earthquake, the tidal wave, the sharks and killer bees all elaborately put to the music we loved to hate in the 70s.
The storyline is simple – a sleaze ball casino operator Tony (John Treacy Egan) cuts costs on his new floating crap game and the opening night becomes a . . . Disaster!
Aboard the ship is “noted disaster expert” serious faced Ted (Rudetsky) who tries to warn him of the coming debacle once the guests get too rambunctious doing “The Hustle” and the vibrations set off an earthquake.
Everybody gets into the act from the assembled group of comedy-laden actors who include the Brooklyn twanged Marty Testa as Shirley and her loving husband Maury (Tom Riis Farrell) – who doesn’t know she’s dying of cancer until symptoms like spouting off obscenities in Tourette-style syndrome begin – “You’re Still the One.”
There’s the cute couple, he Chad (Matt Farcher) a waiter; she Marianne a reporter (Haven Burton) – she left him at the altar and he’s “Alone Again, Naturally.”
Outstanding is Jennifer Simard as the Sister, an irreverent nun with a gambling problem “Torn Between Two Lovers” trying to resist putting that quarter into the slot machine winding up singing a raunchy “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
Jackie (Michele Ragusa) is a singer aboard the ship with boy/girl twins – actually it’s a very talented Jonah Verdon who slips a cap with long hair attached on and off as he morphs between being Ben & Lisa. And there’s hot voiced disco queen Levora (Charity Dawson), hugging her pooch, down to her last nickel, who manages to win a big jackpot as the first disaster strikes while she’s singing “Knock on Wood.”
As the ship turns over in the tidal wave, sharks attack and wind up on Tony’s arms (two big fluffy stuffed toys), fire breaks out and there’s lunacy and songs throughout the 2 hours (w/intermission) that include many classics – “Sky High,” He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother,” “Reunited” and on and on as this zany and absurd shipboard adventure unfolds.
It’s a big cast and perhaps a little longer than necessary but you’ll laugh whether you want to or not. The show is directed by Jack Plotnick with choreography by Denis Jones.
Go have fun at St. Luke’s Theater 308 West 46th Street NYC – 212 239-6200 www.disastermusical.com
*Photos: Jeremy Daniel