Going to an Off-Broadway show you’ve never heard of in New York City can bring up all kinds of anxiety issues for bona fide New Yorkers. You start questioning its very existence – is this a real show? Are these actual actors or just bored college kids who got their parents to fund their “project”? Is it in a real theatre space or am I going to some bar-meets-warehouse with folding chairs and no sound system?
When I arrived for the new rock musical comedy F#%king Up Everything in the heart of Times Square I was immediately worried. The theatre was located in a building called Times Scare (no joke) that housed the Elektra Theater where the show is running, and where it also catered to tourists who wanted to experience Times Square’s version of a haunted house – with alcohol. Always comforting. But a walk up the stairs and to the right revealed a wonderful Off Broadway theatre space, comfortable and larger than expected, ready to transport theatre-goers to the world of F#%king Up Everything.
The show first took the stage at New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2009 where it was recognized with the award for Excellence for Book and Honorable Mention awards for Outstanding Performance and Best Ensemble. Almost four years later, the show is back on the New York stage ready to wow a whole new audience.
With a band onstage and the base set of a hipster dive bar in Brooklyn, there’s a moment of excitement mixed with ultimate worry for the audience members. Shows like this can go either way – wonderfully new and fresh, or tragically bad and predictable. Luckily for us, the show was a delightful mix of charm and talent, endearing in its simple boy-meets-girl love story between a nerdy puppeteer, Christian Schwartzelberg, and indie singer-songwriter Juliana. The characters, all 20-something Brooklyn hipster archetypes, are experiencing the reality of a world just out of college, trying to not only figure out the complications of their relationships, but ultimately who they are and what they want for their futures. The show makes fun of itself and its characters just enough to keep it entertaining and keep the audience from losing interest. With its indie rock original songs and engaging characters, the message of the show is clear and worth listening to – to find the perfect mate you have to be your true self, faking it through life just won’t work.
Guest Post By: Adrienne Mansard