By Ethlie Ann Vare
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 2/14/20 – I almost hesitate to recommend this delightful original musical: If it were to get too successful, the awesome weight of NBC’s legal department might fall on the poor little theater company, despite “a parody in accordance with fair-use law” being part of the show’s title. But this labor-of-love production is too much fun to ignore, and maybe Law & Order has been around long enough to be generic for cop show the way Kleenex is generic for tissues.
Playwright/lyricist Ilyse Mimoun gets laughs from all the familiar tropes of TV cops. There’s the cop who misses the good old days (“stickball, white privilege, Marilyn Monroe”) and the one who drops random bits of personal life info for no particular reason. There are witnesses who won’t stop walking while being interviewed, interviews that somehow have to take place in a strip club, and red herring suspects like a wildly overeducated doorman and a secret gay lover (who actually sings a song called “Red Herring.”) You’ve got your grumpy Lieutenant, your ambitious prosecutor, your bleeding-heart psychiatrist, your no-nonsense judge… if Dick Wolf dreamed it, Ilyse Mimoun found a place for it.
“Law & Order: The Musical” doesn’t just make fun of the “Law & Order” part; it also manages to make fun of “The Musical.” With a hint of Busby Berkeley to a nod at Dean Martin’s Golddiggers, choreographer Lou Becker meets cop cliché with its dance cliché equivalent: jazz hands. A veteran whose credits include The Muppets and La La Land, Becker does a lot with a tiny stage and a cast whose dance expertise… let’s say varies.
There is actually a plot here, one should note. A woman has been murdered — and a pretty one, too, which makes it worse, according to Detective Criscoe. The culprit has to be found and prosecuted. Is it someone with a vendetta against the victim’s mob boss father, or against her crusading politician mother? What does dad’s gay lover have to do with it? (Nothing. He told you. He’s a red herring.) When an arrest is made, will the prosecutor cut a deal or go to trial? Are there mitigating circumstances, as the song “Trauma Plays a Factor” would have it? Will the Lieutenant ever get a decent signal on her cell phone?
This is all very smart, if at times very silly, stuff and even manages to sneak in some pungent commentary about issues like gender and the state of the legal system. The 80-minute show moved briskly in front of an enthusiastic full 71-seat house on opening night. Particular kudos to jack-of-all-roles Kerr Lordygan, and to Godfrey Flax, who brings wit and great pipes to standout smaller parts.
The show runs weekends through March 15. Tickets are cheap. Ignore NBC. Go.
Law and Order: the Musical! A parody in accordance with fair-use law
Presented by Blooming Damsels Productions
Book and lyrics by Ilyse Mimoun
Music by Jeremy Adelman
Directed by Ilyse Mimoun
Choreography by Lou Becker
Cast (in alphabetical order) Ebenezer Alasi, Annie Bond, Tara Cox, Steve Fite, Godfrey Flax, Kerr Lordygan, Tifanie McQueen Ilyse Mimoun, Kira Powell
The Broadwater Second Stage Theater, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90038.
Through March 15, 2020. Fri. & Sat. at 8:00, Sun. at 7:00.
Photo credit: Ben Rock