Thursday, October 1, 2009

WLS Review: "Under Fire"

What happens in a Central American country when tradition collides with new ways, ethics are challenged by integrity, loyalty is tested by hypocrisy, and journalistic neutrality clashes with moral action? These and other dilemmas are exposed and explored in the exciting and ambitious new musical, “Under Fire,” now playing at The Theatre at St. Clements in Manhattan as part of this year's New York Musical Theatre Festival.

The center of the action takes place in El Mirador, a country where the political status quo is in decay, passion and violence permeates the streets, and everyone is hiding a secret. The audience is privy to watching the events unfold through the eyes of a driven young American journalist named Russell. As he searches to capture the truth in his pictures, he is exposed to brutal truths which shake to the core his very identity as a journalist, and as a man.

With book and lyrics by Barry Harman, and music by Grant Sturlale, the audience is treated to a dazzling journey of love, betrayal, and destruction. The music is quite catchy and stayed in my head hours after seeing it. The lyrics not only propel the plot forward, but also expose the underlying fears and psychological profiles of the characters. The dancing is electric, sexy, and let’s face it, where else are you ever going to see James DePaiva do a samba?

Here’s my S.A.S.S. [Short Attention Soap Summary]

WHAT: “Under Fire” playing October 1, 4, 9, 10, and 12th in at The Theatre at St. Clements (423 46th Street)

WHY SOAP FANS WILL LOVE IT: You had me at “DePaiva” and “samba.” Soap fans will also appreciate the moral conflicts each main character if forced to confront, the consequences of exposed lies, and a fun romantic triangle which unfolds during the course of the play. Not to mention a few Kleenex moments in the second act.

BOTTOM LINE: What it lacks in expensive production values it more than makes up for in the vibrant dance of an energetic ensemble, an enthralling story line that hooks you in the first five minutes, and some shocking plot twists.

VERDICT: For $20 you won’t get a more exciting and entertaining bang for your buck in Manhattan. Did I mention James DePaiva and a samba? Press here for tickets.

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