Deployed – New York Musical Theatre Festival

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NY Theater Review By Marcina Zaccaria

 

Unknown-3Deployed is a lively, passionate musical with book, music, and lyrics by Jessy Brouillard. It was staged as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). More than just a love story, Deployed, searches for meaning in war and destruction.

Janice Landry played Corporal Emily Baker. Bryant Martin played Lieutenant Anthony Wilkes. Although they are placed in different units, they fall deeper in love, and finally, decide to get married toward the end of the show. Emily Baker is a fine, female heroine. She is strong and compassionate, seeking to be an ideal solider who creates a better world for Iraqi women. Lieutenant Anthony Wilkes is a smitten, army man. Deeply in love with Baker, who sometimes dismisses his advances, he professes his love repeatedly, and often in song.

Deployed starts out as a loud, rock musical. There aren’t too many comedies about the military, but in Act I, Deployed shows every sign of being that. The producers have put together a fine ensemble, and there is a muscularity about the opening sequences. Dressed in Army fatigues, the relationships between men and women are bold and sexually charged.

Deployed does take a turn in the second act and through the course of the play, new complex characters are introduced. Particularly surprising is Nina V. Negron as Laila. Laila is an interpreter, who instead of finding connection, finds only an unspoken despair that erupts in chaos. Patrice is a pivotal role, and brilliantly played by John D. Haggerty, an actor who was also in the cast of Les Miserables.

The book, music, and lyrics by Jessy Brouillard make this show a fine watch. There are bawdy solos and light ballads. Some of the poetry is surprising.   The pain of war and the cries for peace throughout the play are often veiled, and woven together in alarming moments on stage.

David Goldstein provides the Scenic Design. It’s a quick moving, fun set. Janell Berte, the Costume Designer, clothes much of the cast in Army fatigues. Len DeNio provides the good, loud Sound Design for the show. Lighting Design is by Sam Gordon, and dazzling Projection Design is provided by Brad Peterson.

Director Mindy Cooper pays careful attention to the staging, and includes plenty of interesting details, including twirling guns.  She does a fine job of creating larger scenes of military panic, carefully coordinating a brightly colored upstage screen with the actors onstage. Scenes explode, and we see the horrors of war, and the possibility of love that eventually gets shattered.

The New York Musical Theatre Festival exists to ensure the vitality of America’s greatest art form by providing an affordable way for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theatre audiences. NYMF was honored last year with a Drama Desk Award for ten years of creating and nurturing new musical theater.

*Photos: Christine DiPasquale

Deployed will play again on July 22nd at 5PM at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at Pershing Square Signature Center. For tickets of other information, please call 212.352.3101 or visit www.nymf.org

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