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PRETTY FUNNY:The Musical MusicalFare Theatre
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Jul 28, 2017, 14:26
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Through August 13
PRETTY FUNNY: The Musical MusicalFare Theatre/Daemen College

“Pretty Funny: The Musical” is a gumbo of a show, a mix of musical, lecture on bad bosses, young romance, teen cliques and parents trying to do the right thing by their Seventh Grade daughter.
It’s new and getting a summer run at MusicalFare, with music writer and lyricist Philip Farugia on the lead piano, with the book from co-lyricist Marisa Guida, who conceived the show.
The production is pleasant and an introduction to Imogene Coca, a performer for most of the 20th Century who is probably unknown to much of the theater audience.
This production from MusicalFare benefits from a strong performance by Nicole Marrale Cimato as Coca and a key effort from Arin Lee Dandes as Genny.
She’s just entering middle school, only to discover her BFF has gone from best friend status to being one of the popular girls, desperate to sit at Table 1 in the cafeteria.
Unfortunately, they aren’t Heathers but the intent is the same.
Dad (Louis Colaiacovo) is a TV producer obsessed with Coca and Mom (Amy Jakiel) is obsessed with rising in the cosmetics company where she’s in management.
They want to help Genny but don’t really understand what she’s going through.
That’s hard to believe, since middle school angst and bullying aren’t a secret.
Dad decides to help his daughter by transmitting his obsession with her while Mom is shuttling from home to her new half-time office in California.
Coca swirls in and out of the imagination of dad and daughter, as the marriage teeters and the cosmetics company tips into trouble because one line looks wonderful and is lethal.
What’s a little problem to look good?
Remember arsenic facial powder?
Genny begins to develop herself, despite the Heathers, and meets a guy, wonderful tap dancer, Dan Urtz’ Randy, who’s interested in her as a performer and person.
Dad loses his job but builds on vaudeville and Mom gets less Sheryl Sandberg and all goes well and Genny reaches out to her BFF again.
It’s treacle and entertaining and pleasant.
The musical numbers are well-staged and well-drilled by Doug Weyand, as local choreographers continue to move away from Bob Fosse.
The songs?
Oh, they are pleasant enough and help move the story along, “Imogene Coca,” “Because She Has Us,” “Girl’s Day” and “Crazemaking.”
There were some young girls sitting just in front of me for the performance of the age of the characters and just getting there and they seemed to like the show and the story.
That’s a message.
The show benefits from some strong casting and an effective and flexible design from Chris Schenk.
It really benefits from some strong casting, Marrale Cimato, Dandes, Jakiel , Colaiacovo and Urtz.
There is something in “Pretty Funny: The Musical” worth continuing to work on.

A.W.

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