Remember that Robert Frost’s poem about the importance of taking the right road? Well, Monday night, I took the low road – and I couldn’t be happier.
Before getting to Field Hockey Hot – 100 minutes of sublime lunacy in music that no theatregoer can afford to miss – let’s celebrate 11th Hour Theatre. This company has grown steadily in stature, and their recent musicals-in-concert series showcased an ensemble of tremendous energy and talent.
Field Hockey Hot is their first original musical, and composer-lyricist-book writer Michael Ogborn’s show fits them like a glove.
What do you need to know about it? The subject – sort of – is high school sports. Or maybe it’s the importance of winning. Or young love.
But what you really need to know is it’s wildly irreverant. Harvard, the Shroud of Turin, self-help tapes, Title IX, Elton John – nothing is sacred… especially not pop-rock musicals, which are skewered with laser-beam brilliance, and palpable (ahem) Glee.
You also need to know that it features the fabulous Jennie Eisenhower, who has reinvented herself again – from a pretty ingenue soprano, to a serious dramatic actress, and now, a physical comic and powerhouse vocal belter. And the material that Ogborn gives her? Let’s just say Merman had her “Rose’s Turn,” Idina has her “Defying Gravity” — and now, Eisenhower has her “Vicariously.”
The rest of the ensemble is every bit as dazzling vocally and histrionically – and Ogborn gives each perfomer ample opportunity to shine. Megan O’Brien’s direction and Ellie Mooney’s choreography are full of inventive charm, as are the minimal but wonderful scenery and costumes.
I suppose you should know that there are a lot of sex puns. Also, that Field Hockey Hot has no weighty moral agenda. (That’s putting it mildly – compared to this show, Legally Blonde looks like Parsifal.)
Hooray, say I! Think of it as similar to a Chipwich. The nutritional value may be scant. But while you’re eating, it’s sheer bliss.
Categories: CITY PAPER, Criticism, Philadelphia, Theater
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