'It's the Housewives'

The married team of tunesmith Laurence Juber and comedy writer Hope Juber have wrought an infectious 18-song score, chronicling the comedic rise and fall of three homemakers who become pop superstars. The tunes far outdistance the clunky book by the distaff Juber and Ellen Guylas. Though helmer Kelly Ann Ford fails to solve the basic problem of how to move her unwieldy ensemble about the Whitefire Theater's miniscule stage, this does not diminish the zesty vocal output of Jamey Hood, Corinne Dekker and Jayme Lake, complimented greatly by the choreography of Kay Cole.

The married team of tunesmith Laurence Juber and comedy writer Hope Juber have wrought an infectious 18-song score, chronicling the comedic rise and fall of three homemakers who become pop superstars. The tunes far outdistance the clunky book by the distaff Juber and Ellen Guylas. Though helmer Kelly Ann Ford fails to solve the basic problem of how to move her unwieldy ensemble about the Whitefire Theater’s miniscule stage, this does not diminish the zesty vocal output of Jamey Hood, Corinne Dekker and Jayme Lake, complimented greatly by the choreography of Kay Cole.

“It’s the Housewives!” follows in the tradition of such musical spoofs as “Spinal Tap” and “A Mighty Wind,” distilling the essence of all the band-on-the-rise cliches into the history of three happy housewives who get their start performing a musical spoof about household malfunctions (“Call a Repairman”) for a PTA show. Subsequently, the threesome of Becca (Hood), Lynn (Dekker) and Lexie (Lake) travel the full circle of pop star inevitability.

Laurence Juber, a Grammy winner as lead guitarist for Wings, and Emmy-nominated Hope Juber (TV Land’s “Still Brady After All These Years”) plow through the often-bumpy field of marital bliss to hilarious effect. Such odes to domesticity as “Ironing Bored,” “In Sink and At Your Disposal,” “Permanent Wave” and “I’ve Been Defrosting All Day” are as musically rewarding as they are lyrically inventive.

The three Housewives are impressive musical complements to each other. Hood’s Becca exhibits admirable rock chops on the rhythmic “Domestiphobia” and the maniacal “Erica, You Bitch.” The most comically adept of the three, Lake inhabits the persona of blond, clueless Lexie, purring through the ballad “Be My Baby Sitter.” Dekker is dead-on as domestically compulsive Lynn, who can’t help but dominate the other two when given the chance (“Football Widow”).

The songs and the singers have a great ally in Cole, who seamlessly unites the subject of each song with its musical rhythms, including a colorful salsa tribute to vacuum cleaners (“It Sucks”) and a Supremes-like homage to pregnancy (“It Started With a Kiss”). Cole’s dance moves are doubly enhanced by the caricature-perfect costumes of Sharell Martin and the wigs of Diane Martinous.

Proving a disservice to this worthy musical output is the Juber/Guylas book that features a retired Becca (now called Rebecca), played by Terri Homberg-Olsen, heavy-handedly narrating the history of the Housewives to her plumber (Vince Cefalu), who operates as a one-person Greek chorus to her narrative. As the narrated segments flow into the actual musical numbers, Rebecca and her plumber are too often reduced to static figures frozen to the back of the set.

Helmer Ford does her best to stage the varied character machinations of Jed Alexander, Roger Cruz, Susan Mullen and Anthony DeSantis, who too often prove to be extraneous plot fodder.

It's the Housewives!

Whitefire Theater; 99 seats; $30 top

Production

A Theater Planners presentation of a musical in two acts, music and lyrics by Hope and Laurence Juber, book by Hope Juber and Ellen Guylas. Directed by Kelly Ann Ford. Music direction, Laurence Juber. Choreography, Kay Cole.

Creative

Sets, Davis Campbell and Danny Cistone; costumes, Sharell Martin, lighting, Lesley Fairman; sound, Joseph Slawinski; videos, Gabrieal Griego; wigs, Diane Martinous; production stage manager, Dale Alan Cooke. Opened, reviewed, Sep. 6, 2008. Runs through Oct. 12. Running time: 2 HOURS.

Cast

Rebecca - Terri Homberg-Olsen Plumber - Vince Cefalu Becca - Jamey Hood Lynn - Corinne Dekker Lexie - Jayme Lake Professor Punk - Jed Alexander Hugo - Roger Cruz Cranky Lady - Susan Mullen Stewart - Anthony DeSantis
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