By Linda Amiel Burns
The delightful new musical comedy, Nobody Loves You, a spoof of romance reality shows at Second Stage, will leave you smiling.
Nobody Loves You is a delightful new musical presented at The Second Stage Theatre that spoofs America’s obsession with finding love on TV reality shows. The clever book is by Itamar Moses, with music by Gaby Alter and top-notch lyrics by Moses and Alter.
The show is presented without intermission and is brilliantly directed by Michelle Tattenbaum who keeps the proceedings moving swiftly and choreographed by Mandy Moore.
Jeff (Bryan Fenkart), a grad student is trying to study while his girlfriend Nina (the terrific Leslie Kritzer in several roles) insists he watch the game show “Nobody Loves You” with her. He scoffs at the silliness of the show and she breaks up with him saying that they are not compatible and that she is going to apply to the show to find her “soul mate.” Jeff decides to try out for the show to get his girlfriend back and finds out that she was rejected. The producers love Jeff’s cynicism and bring him on as one of the contestants. Jeff agrees because he plans to reveal the phoniness of it all as part of his dissertation, but becomes a popular finalist.
Heath Calvert is perfect as Bryon, the empty-headed, smarmy handsome host of the show and can give Ryan Seacrest a run for his money. The contestants who are put through their paces each week with silly “challenges” include Christian (Roe Hartrampf) a devout born-again who is afraid to let go, Meagan (Lauren Molina) an aggressively sexy-type, Samantha (adorable Autumn Hurlbert), a lovelorn schoolteacher and Dominic (Rory O’Malley, a standout in 3 very different roles) who is a clueless ladies man. These shows thrive on cruelty and as each contestant is eliminated, the host and the audience shout out that they have to go because “nobody loves you.”
Jeff falls in love with Jenny (Aleque Reid) a staffer on the show who is equally cynical about love and the producers say that this is a no-no until the ratings soar as the cameras capture their off-screen flirtation. The course of their love does not run smoothly, as Jenny loses her job refusing to be a part of the insanity surrounding her. The grand prize is that the winning couple not only find love, but star in their own reality show.
Everyone in the cast is outstanding and give convincing performances. However, Rory O’Malley, in the role of Evan, an obsessed gay fan who tweets while watching the show, is hilarious.
Nobody Loves You pokes fun at today’s reality shows and people’s willingness to do anything to have their “15 minutes of fame.” The show is original, total fun and all the elements of a good book, with brilliant lyrics and music, a great cast and fine direction come together to make this a pleasurable and special musical comedy.
Second Stage Theatre 305 West 43rd Street212-246-4422, 2st.comThrough August 11