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Atlantic Theater Company Presents "Found", a New Musical, at the Linda Gross Theater
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Atlantic Theater Company Presents "Found", a New Musical, at the Linda Gross Theater

- Backstage with the Playwrights

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Atlantic Theater Company
Neil Pepe, Artistic Director
Jeffory Lawson, Managing Director
Presents:

Found
(Found Website)

Book by Hunter Bell & Lee Overtree
Music & Original Lyrics by Eli Bolin
(based on the found books and magazines by Davy Rothbart)
(additional material in collaboration with Story Pirates)

Directed by Lee Overtree
Choreographer: Monica Bill Barnes

At
Atlantic Theater Company
Linda Gross Theater
336 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011
212.239.6200

With:
Christina Anthony, Nick Blaemire, Andrew Call, Daniel Everidge,
Orville Mendoza, Betsy Morgan, Molly Pope,
Danny Pudi, Sandy Rustin, Barrett Wilbert Weed

Sets by David Korins
Costumes by Theresa Squire
Lights by Justin Townsend
Sound by Ken Travis
Projection by Darrel Maloney
Orchestrations by Frank Galgano & Matt Castle
Music Director: Matt Castle
Music Coordinator: Michael Aarons
Dramaturg: Christian Parker
Casting: Telsey & Company
Rachel Hoffman, CSA & Howie Cherpakov, CSA
Production Stage Manager: Mark Dobrow
Production Manager: Michael Wade
General Manager: Jamie Tyrol
Press Representative: Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 8, 2014


In a season when we have seen A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, about actual handwritten letters, mailed in post offices, that articulated thoughts and feelings, Found, by Hunter Bell and Lee Overtree (book) and Eli Bolin (music and lyrics), about lost, poorly spelled notes and scribbled expletives on scrap paper, leaves one craving for Dickinson or Wordsworth. The musical If/Then was one of the first I’d seen that actually created songs with lyrics that rhymed with cursing, but then there came Found, expanding on the practice. Fowl comments do not equal humor, but, then, tell that to producers of many of today’s films and stand-up comedy. The premise of Found is intriguing, a musical based on a magazine that publishes found notes. But, combining the forgettable songs and thin, sitcom-ish plot into a two-act production at the venerable Atlantic Theater Company is a stretch.

Lee Overtree has directed a fantastic cast of characters, all of whom have individualized personalities, stage presence, wit, and timing, but that’s it. This was a case of ten characters in search of a play, to paraphrase Pirandello. Davy (Nick Blaemire), the actual founder of Found Magazine, finds a conflicted breakup note on his car, meant for a guy named Mario, and so the story begins. He brings on Denise (Barrett Wilbert Weed) and Mikey D (Daniel Everidge) to dig in and form a startup magazine. As sitcoms do, the lead guy ditches the dedicated girlfriend for the sexy, successful blond, in this case Kate (Betsy Morgan), who persuades Davy to travel to LA to make his magazine a television series (a metaphor for mediocrity and monotony in this case). Davy’s friends and Kate’s associates, Christina (Christina Anthony), Andrew (Andrew Call), Orville (Orville Mendoza, Molly (Molly Pope), Danny (Danny Pudi), and Sandy (Sandy Rustin), not only sing the songs in solo, duo, or ensemble, but they also recite the scribbles and screeds. Thanks to Darrel Maloney’s projections, we see these notes, while read or sung, larger than life, handwritten or drawn, some ornamented with doodles and drawings.

The book and lyrics, once again, would have been so much more endearing without the constant need for low-brow coarseness. Here and there, fine; everywhere, redundant. The score reminded me of opening tunes of 80’s sitcom reruns, pop nothingness. However, once again, casting was excellent, and I’d love to see this ensemble again, in a different show. They had chemistry, charisma, and charm. Molly Pope, Daniel Everidge, and Orville Mendoza were especially entertaining, brimming with enthusiasm and energy. In the lead, Nick Blaemire exuded pathos and humor, and he, too, could shine in a new work. David Korins used letters and notes to ingenious effect, and Ken Travis’ sound was clear and resounding. Mr. Overtree directed for excellent timing between dialogue and songs. Some of those songs, however, are titled “You Never Kiss Me”, “Boston Is Pretty”, “Cats Are Cats”, and “Stay Weird”. Some others are (for this journal) unprintable. Monica Bill Barnes’ choreography is casual, could be seen at a house party or club dance. The six-piece band was superb, with Matt Castle conducting and on keyboard.





For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net