eLove, A Musical.Com/edy

This world-premiere musical by Wayland Pickard explores an online romance between an older man and woman who are newly single. After a Web site called "eLove" matches Frank (Lloyd Pedersen) and Carol (Bobbi Stamm), love seems to blossom as they begin chatting online. The opening number "I'm Single" has a catchy tune with some clever lyrics; unfortunately the highlight of the show comes five minutes in. The rest devolves into repetitive and unimaginative quips punctuated by musical numbers that plunge from the pedestrian to something akin to theme songs from an '80s sitcom. Pickard does everything in this production but act; his staging lends it a one-dimensional quality that might have been avoided with greater collaboration. He is so focused on trying to milk puns for laughs that his direction employs hackneyed devices, such as talking to pets, and monologues delivered out to the audience. Stamm stumbles over one too many lines, though she and Pedersen have pleasant voices, but Chris Winfield's cramped set allows them little freedom to physically explore their characters. The piece, in effect, becomes an Ed Sullivan–style standup routine with dialogue so trite, it makes George Lucas look like Edward Albee. NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood; Fri., 8 p.m. (Dec. 5-21 only); Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 3 p.m.; through Dec. 21. (323) 822-7898.
Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: Nov. 15. Continues through Dec. 21, 2008