Following the trend that every old film or TV show apparently must be made into a musical, “A Very Brady Musical” makes a reasonably successful transition, considering the kids on the original program used to sing occasionally, anyway. The music and lyrics by Hope Juber and Laurence Juber are generally tuneful and clever, Lloyd J. Schwartz and Hope Juber’s book is witty, and Schwartz’s direction of an able cast is resourceful. This world premiere at Theater West should entertain those who grew up watching the titular tots, though the risque nature of the humor makes it surprisingly inappropriate for young children now.
When Peter Brady (Justin Meloni) inadvertently tapes his parents Mike (John Cygan) and Carol (Barbara Mallory) seemingly saying they want to murder each other, the kids of the Brady family decide they have to save their parents’ marriage. They decide their folks need the help of a famous therapist, so they decide to try and raise money to make this happen. Unfortunately, the kids’ naivete gets them in trouble, from oldest boy Greg (Elliot Kevin Schwartz) unknowingly giving bank robbers a lift in his car to oldest girl Marcia (Erin Holt) offering to date men for money and getting busted in a prostitution sting.
Cygan has deadpan fun with the oblivious straight-arrow Mike, yet Mallory seems game but miscast as the sexually frustrated Carol. Schwartz makes for an amusingly earnest Greg, and his seemingly wholesome perf of “Greg’s Car,” with its frequent refrain of “I’ve got a woody,” is one of the funnier bits of the show. Holt excels as the cheerfully narcissistic if somewhat vacuous Marcia, and Laura Marion is very good as Jan, the middle sister in Marcia’s shadow, and she displays a strong voice in “Totally Useless.” Meloni is fine but gets the least to do as Peter, and Adam Conger brings a daffy charm as Bobby. Finally, Kelly Stables gleefully steals the show as the ever-lisping Cindy, hitting every comedic note with impressive and hilarious skill.
The tunes by Hope Juber and Laurence Juber are generally effective; the metaphorically raunchy “Euphemisms,” the cute “Someday” and the songs previously mentioned are standouts. However, 10 of the 26 numbers are reprises, making the second half the show a musically unnecessary retread of the first half. Lloyd J. Schwartz’s direction paces and stages the tuner efficiently, and Paul Denniston’s choreography retains the goofily nostalgic vibe of the original TV show musical numbers.
Daniel Keough and Joseph M. Altadonna’s multipurpose set is both economical and colorful, and Diana Marion’s costumes add a perfect ’70s touch.