A Wall Apart

 

Jordan Bondurant, Darren Ritchie

 

Review by Marcina Zaccaria

 

In A Wall Apart, Lord Graham Russell, Founding Member of the band, Air Supply, creates big rock sound against a black and white video of a torn Berlin.

 

After a screen with images of Germany in the 1960s fills the stage, friends celebrate an evening with Mickey and the Angels at The Bunker. While Russell’s Air Supply boasted glossy, dreamy songs like “All Out of Love” and “Lost in Love,” A Wall Apart is reliant on loud, choral music. Though a few of the tunes, like “We’re Having a Baby,” sound joyous and melodious, many of the songs leave one feeling less than wispy.

The Company

 

Well drawn characters are scripted by Sam Goldstein and Craig Clyde. Josh Tolle is affable as Mickey, the lead singer. It’s easy to follow him as a romantic hero, and his love affair with Suzanne is credible. Emily Behny is an adorable, pint sized female lead, who eventually becomes pregnant. Leslie Becker, as Tante, is forever empathetic, and Jordan Bondurant, as Kurt, is a great scene partner to Maddie Shea Baldwin, who plays Esther, a tough talking survivalist. Together, they sing “A Wall Apart,” a testament to difficulty faced in a divided City. The war scenes carry a good deal of weight, and Darren Ritchie, as Hans, provides all the gravitas necessary to carry the drama through the last third of the musical.

Maddie Shea Baldwin, Jordan Bondurant

 

Great choreography by Keith Andrews holds the intensity of the production. The lifts, hard gazes, and graceful jumps complement the rock and roll spirit. Andrews (National Tours of The Full Monty and Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah), also the Director, has made certain that the dialogue is snappy, and that the screen and live theatrical images really move. There is something terrific about the staging, with seamless blending from foreground to the background. The Wall is an actual structure and a potent reminder.

 

Ingenious Scenic Designer David Goldstein has crafted the set in blocks to assemble and re-assemble throughout the play. From the bar, past the American Checkpoint, to the East Side of Berlin, it’s effective.

 

Creators of this new musical have done a lot to capture the love and despair of the time period. Maintaining rough edges, with military uniforms by Dustin Cross, the styles effortlessly progress from the 60s to the 70s. Matt Rosell, as Mickey Jr., delivers one of the best rock tunes heard at NYMF with “Son of the Father.” The beginning and ending song, “The City,” is forceful and enduring.

 

 

The New York Musical Festival hosts some of the most compelling new musicals on the NYC stage. A Wall Apart ran at The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row from July 25 – July 30.

Photos: Michael Schoenfeld

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