I love musical theater and so I go to see it every chance I get. But I'm also not immune to the guilty pleasures of our celebrity obsessed popular culture. Enter America's Breath of Fresh Air, the perfect marriage of the two.
With book, music and lyrics by multi-platinum hit songwriter, Arnie Roman, and directed by Joey Murray, this offering as part of this year's Fringe Festival is a not-to-be-missed hilarious romp through the manufactured celebrity as byproduct of reality TV shows.
At times absurd and slightly twisted -- adjectives not wholly unwarranted when describing people who've garnered fame for no discernible talent -- this show manages to maintain both its humor and heart.
This effort is aided by a stellar cast composed of: Howie Michael Smith, Mackenzie Bell, Lorraine Ferro, Connor Moore, Melanie Brook, Michael Lorz, David Perlman and Lindsey Lake.
America's Breath of Fresh Air follows the trajectory of ordinary guy, Bob Summers, as he wins a reality TV show for having the best breath minus brushing and flossing for an extended period of time. Desperate to impress his girlfriend, Jen, a former Gerber baby model, Bob's life is forever transformed by his rise to stardom, as are the lives of those around him.
The brilliant score by Mr. Roman spans every genre of musical style, while still remaining decidedly musical theater, a feat not successfully achieved by many of Mr. Roman's pop peers who have ventured into the realm of musical theater.
Though many numbers delight, I would be remiss if I did not mention the spectacularly absurd "I Kissed a Donkey," the hysterical-in-a-kind-of-sick-way "Baby on Baby" and the poignant standout of the ninety minutes, "You Got That from Me," brilliantly performed by Ms. Ferro who portrays Bob's mother, Harriet.
America's Breath of Fresh Air has four more performances during the Fringe Festival. It will be at Theater 80, 80 St. Marks Place in New York City on Saturday, August 17, Sunday, August 18, Monday, August 19, and Friday, August 23. You do not want to miss it!