by. Adam Cohen
Dr. Glassheart, a new political/romantic musical comedy, by Jason Trachtenburg is replete with wide targets for satire– healthcare, the president, romance, homelessness, destroying public land for affordable housing. It has many entertaining features and is often laugh out loud funny.
Mr. Trachtenburg is a marvel. Here he serves as writer/composer, and he brings vast experience given his years as the found photo slide bandleader of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players. The fully orchestrated music is robust big band and is bouncily amazing in the hands of the twelve-piece band The Pendulum Swings – which features Mr. Trachtenburg as a singer. They are also performing at Club Cumming on Monday November 20th and if you bring the coupon from your Dr Glassheart program there’s no cover charge.
The show plays out in ten scenes and ten songs. We are introduced to the good-hearted aspiring musician, very un-medical knowledgeable Dr. Glassheart (Andrew Hoepfner), his nurse Nadine (Miz Stefani) and receptionist (Stefanie Clouse) via narrator Trachtenburg. There’s romantic sparks between the doctor and nurse –which are acknowledged but never acted upon because he’s too busy writing songs and psychoanalyzing Rico from Puerto Rice (Joe Crow Ryan) a homeless man who wishes to save a magical children’s garden and park from becoming housing. There’s a happy ending thanks to a favor Dr. Glassheart owes to the President (Mike Amato).
Things move fast. Thankfully there are lots of songs, one-liners, and bouncy music. Political satire is tough but in the hands of this capable, game cast, the zings land quickly and often.
The cast is uniformly good. Hoepfner plays cluelessness with panache and the right dose of confidence. He’s not even sure his lab coat is sterile. Stefani is pert, straight faced, and the perfect romantic foil – singing beautifully and heartbreakingly with her unrequited and perhaps unrequired love. Amato’s bravado and narcissism is perfection as the president. And Ryan is gripping as Rico.
The world has many targets for satire and in Trachtenberg and the company’s capable hands, Dr. Glassheart should be seen and heard now.
The production plays tonight at 7pm at The Tank. 312 West 36th Street / First Floor. www.TheTankNYC.org
Tickets and information at drglassheart.com