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Everyday Rapture – Broadway Musical Review

 

MENNONISM OR BROADWAY – WHAT WOULD SHERIE DO?

 

Picture – Everyday Rapture – Sherie Rene Scott – photo by Carol RoseggTheater Review

by Cindy Pierre 

published May 5, 2010 

 

Everyday Rapture

now playing on Broadway at the American Airlines Theater

through July 11

 

In 1979, Bob Dylan released the Grammy Award winner “Gotta Serve Somebody”, with lyrics that challenged the listener to choose God or the devil.  In 2010, Sherie Rene Scott and Dick Scanlan collaborate on Everyday Rapture, a new musical that's very much the theatrical version of  John Lennon's parody of the song called “Serve Yourself.”  

 

Even though the shoe fits, neither Dylan nor Lennon appear in Everyday Rapture's soundtrack.  Instead, the production incorporates hits from artists like Roberta Flack, U2 and David Byrne.  Despite the crowd favorites and the “I choose me” mantra that cradles this musical, very little will compel you to choose it over the various shows that are part of this Broadway season.  Not that it doesn't distinguish itself.  It just does so for all the wrong reasons.

 

The 90-minute coming-of-age show, about an ex-half Mennonite (which she describes as "light Amish" named Sherie (playing herself) that casts her cares on a Broadway career instead of God, doesn't get lost by design.  Thematically, there is nothing quite like it currently in performance.  We follow Sherie as she migrates from Kansas to the Big Apple and takes a great big bite out of it.  Unfortunately, we're not tempted to do the same with the show because the execution doesn't give us anything to sink our teeth into.  There's the weighty subject of discarding your religion to follow your own path, but it's packaged in a pink bubblegum wrapper to match Sherie's shirt.  Rather than getting caught up in a rapture like the title suggests, you'll more likely be disenchanted with the cutesy presentation.  And if your sensitivities lean that way, you won't care for the softcore ridicule of Jesus' image when she sings “You Made Me Love You” to him (in the manner of Judy Garland singing the same song to images of Clark Gable).

 

Picture – Everyday Rapture – Sherie Rene Scott – photo by Carol RoseggConsisting mostly of narrative, Rene Scott is left to make us love her with anecdotes, sentiments and humor.  She succeeds when she performs real, actual magic tricks onstage.  However, she is repeatedly upstaged vocally by Lindsay Mendez and Betsy Wolfe, even if their wardrobe fails to impress.  Their dresses are appropriately flirty and identical but for a longer hem on Mendez, yet costume designer Tom Broecker's idea of a dazzling wardrobe change is to switch from a sweater to a bolero.   Eamon Foley, a devoted fan that downloads videos of himself dancing to her tunes on YouTube, also overshadows Rene Scott in comedy two-thirds into the show.  With reliably excellent direction by Michael Mayer, good writing and an exuberant show-stealer, Foley's scene is the only one that comes close to keeping you enthralled.  But it's too little, too late.

 

If Everyday Rapture's mission is to encourage you to follow your dreams and make your own magic, it doesn't succeed in that task.  There are flashes of good moments, but they fade so quickly that we're left to size them up as illusions.  Choosing your own destiny may sound like a good idea, but if you're chasing it down and can't get a firm grasp, you may want to walk down the beaten path.

 

cindypierre @ stageandcinema.com

 

photos by Carol Rosegg 

 

 
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