Falling for Make Believe
The Colony Theatre's latest effort isn't quite there yet: Mark Saltzman's world-premiere musical about the wordsmith half of songwriting duo Rodgers and Hart requires polishing (and a hit would help get the faltering theater back on its feet). But for music lovers and nostalgic theater buffs, this revue directed by Jim Fall offers tender moments, two dozen of the pair's greatest hits and a sobering glimpse at the backstage paradox of Lorenz Hart -- snappy wit and lyric genius but a sodden, tormented closet case. Saltzman hangs the narrative on Fletcher (Tyler Milliron), a Pennsylvania Dutch farm boy who longs to hit it big, or at least find himself a talented boyfriend. After a series of go-nowhere run-ins with Hart (Ben Goldberg), the two finally connect and the play picks up tension and momentum. Their affecting dynamic creates the evening's most potent moments, but both seem slightly miscast: Saltzman's script calls for a hunkier farm boy and a homelier lyricist. Those discrepancies should be addressed, as should an oddly layered set design that leaves intimate scenes swimming in a cavernous space. Rebecca Ann Johnson adds pizzazz as Hart's Broadway muse, along with some dreamy renditions of "Bewitched" and "Blue Moon." Colony Theatre Company, 555 N. Third St., Burbank; Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 3 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 & 7 p.m.; through May 19. (818) 558-7000, colonytheatre.org.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: June 6. Continues through June 30, 2013
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