“Broadway’s Next H!T Musical” took the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts on Feb. 12, on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River.
Starring actors Stefan Schick, Rob Schiffmann, Annie Schiffmann and Megan Reilly, emcee Marc Engberg and pianist Gary Adler, the troupe satirized Broadway’s Tonys with their own zany awards show — The Phony Awards — featuring four original songs created on the spot, based on titles suggested by audience members.
After being entertained by the songs, the audience selected, as the winner, one that was then featured in the second act in an improvised musical complete with a madcap cast of characters, spontaneous vocal harmonies and ridiculous costumes.
On this particularly chilly night in February, it’s no wonder one of the nominated songs included “It’s Too Cold for Singing” — along with “Broken Heart” and “I’m a Little Rat Face” — in addition to the award-winning “Sligo Lady is Here,” suggested by a Jersey grandmother in the audience with family ties to County Sligo in Ireland.
Her song inspired a “spy musical,” “A Stage, a Son, a Spy and a Gun,” which featured such quirky characters as a whimsical captain, a pair of comic criminals and Lady Sligo, the singing spy who saved the day.
Throughout the course of the evening, the “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical” cast improvised all of the dialogue, lyrics, melodies and musical accompaniments performed — along with hilarious choreography — engaging the enthusiastic crowd.
Those in attendance were most impressed by the imagination and energy of the performers and their “go-with-it” attitude — notably when things didn’t make any sense whatsoever — all adding to the fun and hilarity of the evening.
For more information on “Broadway’s Next H!T Musical,” check out broadwaysnexthitmusical.com, and for future events at The Jay and Linda Grunin Center — including Home Free on Feb. 20 and Aaron Neville on March 18 — visit grunincenter.org
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