Thursday, January 12, 2017

Review: Dragon Slayer: A Love Story?

By Kaila M. Stokes 

Dragon Slayer, presented by Scialli Productions and written by Tony Scialli, is not quite what you’d expect from the title. This original musical is funny, ridiculous, and entirely clever. The plot surrounds Lenny, played by Matthew Hazen, a wide-eyed self-absorbed writer who is new to NYC. The musical that he writes is called, Dragon Slayer, and he is sure that it is a hit….spoiler….it’s not. What is clever about this show is the nuances it makes towards Broadway and how artists are in New York. The opening number alone is a play-off of “New York, New York,” but instead of the exact melody and words it is poking fun at all of the diverse factions of people in this crazy town.
As the show progresses the audience constantly delves in and out of reality. The out-of-reality portion takes place in Lenny’s imagination. There we meet Genevieve, played by Courtney Dahl. She is the heroine of Lenny’s musical, except she is a bit feistier than he was expecting. He created her to be the perfect woman, you know; someone who is quiet, petite, and a fair-maiden. Genevieve is basically the one who tells him how stuck up he is and if he wants to be happy than he needs to take his own head out of his…well you get it. All while this is happening, there is a love story. How could there not be? Lenore, played by Veronica Kelly, is in love with Lenny. Lenny of course messes it up and then has to fix it by the end of the show.
photo by Russ Rowland
The best part of the entire show was Veronica Kelly’s voice. It was absolutely beautiful and compelling, not unlike Jessie Mueller’s voice.  The second best thing about Dragon Slayer, was the choreography. Andrea Andresakis did a fabulous job at utilizing her actor’s talents. The dancing never felt like too much or too staged – it felt like a Broadway show – choreography was there when needed. The three men in the show (Mark Curtis Ferrando, Constantine Pappas, and Miguel Angel Vasquez) that played multiple roles were hilarious and definitely the comic relief as well as excellent supporting dancers.
Dragon Slayer while entertaining did have many ideas swirling in the writing, too many ideas at times. It was trying to be its own show, while referencing other shows, and then being a show within a show. It was a lot. It could be simplified just a tad with the show references. The jokes were funny the first and maybe second time, but after that it became repetitive. The other thing to look at is how many songs or ballad type songs there were. There is a lot of music and little dialogue comparatively so the ballad songs needed to be more diverse, by the last one it was not engaging anymore.
Overall the show was fun and silly, I recommend it if you are looking for a show about theater and want to support a group of talented artists. The casting is absolutely fabulous, no complaints about a single member. Each actor held their own and engaged the audience with the material they had. Dragon Slayer may not have any dragons in it, but it is a good time had by all.

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