Singing and acting and drinking, oh my! Is there anything better than enjoying a delicious cocktail (or two or three) and watching talented people perform? The answer is no. No there is not. Which is why you should make your way over to the Elision Playhouse in Crystal, MN for A Flight of Short Musicals this weekend.
This super unique show is a delight. The cast performs six different short musicals while the audience enjoys flights of their choice of wine, cocktails, or nonalcoholic beverages, distributed by the cast at the beginning of the show and during the two intermissions. I personally had the cocktail flight, and two out of the three were phenomenal! (What can I say? I’m not a whisky gal.) But, of course, the drinks are just the cherry on top of a sweet, flavorful performance sundae.
A Flight of Short Musicals is as bare bones as musicals come; the stage is completely bare, save for several chairs, a couple of music stands, and a piano in the corner. If you’re expecting the stereotypical glitz and glamour of musical theater, you might be let down. But the talented cast of nine brings their A-game to make the audience believe their stories without any elaborate sets. And it works. These are some seriously strong actors that don’t need any bells and whistles to make you believe them. You just will.
An obvious standout for me was Christine Wade, performer and vocal director of the show. She appears in four of the six musicals, playing vastly different characters in each one. Her acting is nearly infallible. After watching her tonight, I’m convinced there isn’t a character she couldn’t play. And her voice? To die for. I felt that she was a strong center of sorts, holding together six completely different plays to create a sense of cohesion.
As great as most of the cast were, it was the concept itself that really excited me. I’ll be the first to admit that it can be hard to sit quietly in a dark room for close to two hours after working all day. Even the biggest theater lover could occasionally find themselves repressing a yawn, simply because it's getting close to bedtime! So the idea of watching two short musicals, taking a quick break to chat with people and drink a cocktail, watching two more short musicals, taking another quick break, and watching two more musicals is SUCH a refreshing change. I’m sick today, and I’ve been tired since I woke up this morning. But I wasn't tired at all during A Flight of Short Musicals. There wasn’t time to be! I was completely engaged the entire two hours, at all times excited to see what would come next.
One of the coolest things about this show is that there really is something for everyone. Some of the plays are funny, some sad, some historical, and some just purely bizarre. Honestly, I didn’t love every single one of them, but those I did love I REALLY loved. My personal favorites were Jenny, a hilarious short from the masterminds behind Flight of the Conchords, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, that tells the story of two strangers having a hysterically awkward first encounter, and Timothy Huang’s Missing Karma, the sad, poignant tale of a couple coming to a crossroads in their relationship as they lay their deceased dog to rest. (Dog lovers be warned: I WEPT during this one.) But your favorite might be the Marxist musical The Manifesto or the charmingly absurd My Boyfriend is an Alien… And I’m OK with That, or any of the other short plays. Anyone could see A Flight of Short Musicals and enjoy it in a completely different way than the person sitting next to them. To me, that's art at its finest.
These short musicals have an equally short run at Elision, but lucky for you, there are still two days left to see it! A Flight of Musicals is playing at Elision Playhouse through January 25.