In Transit

An unconventional and unassuming new musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th.

With:
Bass/Chris - Steve French Alto/Booth Lady - Celisse Henderson Soprano/Ali - Hannah Laird Boxman - Chesney Snow Baritone/Nate - Graham Stevens Mezzo/Jane - Denise Summerford Tenor/Trent - Tommar Wilson

Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively low budget — a fully satisfying show with live music but no musician costs — this is a likely prospect to transfer.

The piece follows an episodic, revue-like path, with four of the three-dozen characters ultimately intertwining. Jane (Denise Summerford) is an aspiring actress stuck working as a temp and on the edge of giving up her dream; Nate (Graham Stevens) is a terminated Wall Street banker desperate for and unable to find a real-world job. Both are so likable — as characters and performers — that the audience is happy for them to find each other.

Trent (Tommar Wilson) is a transplanted Texan who can’t tell Momma about his live-in boyfriend; Ali (Hannah Laird) is his ex-roommate, who herself has just been dumped by her boyfriend. They seem to link, too.

These events are overseen by Boxman (Chesney Snow), an authentic street entertainer — or rather, subway entertainer; he uses a hand mic to create an evening’s worth of sound effects, including what seems like an authentic snare drum-and-cymbal.

The four authors — Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth — started writing the material for their a cappella group 10 years ago. An early version of the show, “Along the Way,” appeared at the New York Fringe Festival in 2003, and further development continued at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in 2008, where that group’s chairman of the board Tom Viertel signed on. The Primary Stages program cites 10 commercial producers on the title page, led by the Baruch/Viertel/Routh/Frankel Group.

Director Joe Calarco (“The Burnt Part Boys”) has done a fine job of staging the show, a tricky task given the necessity of keeping the backup actors — the vocal accompaniment to any given song — moving along with the principals in each scene. Calarco also highlights the humor.

The evening’s unsung hero is musical director Mary-Mitchell Campbell (of Patti LuPone’s “Sweeney Todd” and Nathan Lane’s “The Addams Family”). The six voices plus Snow’s prodigious percussive effects meld together so well that one quickly grows accustomed to this 90 minutes’ worth of a cappella.

Primary Stages has provided a handsome if low-key production, featuring a canny and clever set by Anna Louizos (“In the Heights”). Costumes by Jennifer Caprio add to the effect, especially a dress worn by belter Celisse Henderson, which is constructed of Metrocards.

In Transit

59E59; 199 seats; $60 top

Production: A Primary Stages presentation of a musical in one act with book, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez, James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth. Directed and choreographed by Joe Calarco. Music direction, Mary-Mitchell Campbell.

Creative: Sets, Anna Louizos; costumes, Jennifer Caprio; lighting, Jeff Croiter; sound, Jon Weston; production stage manager, Andrew Neal. Opened Oct. 5, 2010. Reviewed Sept. 30. Runs through Oct. 30. Running time: 1 HOUR, 30 MIN.

Cast: Bass/Chris - Steve French Alto/Booth Lady - Celisse Henderson Soprano/Ali - Hannah Laird Boxman - Chesney Snow Baritone/Nate - Graham Stevens Mezzo/Jane - Denise Summerford Tenor/Trent - Tommar WilsonSongs: "Deep Beneath the City," "Not There Yet," "Jane's Warm-Up," "No Dental," "Four Days Home," "Maxed Out," "Saturday Night Obsession," "Wingman," "But, Ya Know," "Keep It Goin'," "Jane's Office," "A Little Friendly Advice," "The Moving Song," "Choosing Not to Know," "Getting There," "Funny That Way"

More Legit

  • Tony Awards: Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban

    Sara Bareilles, Josh Groban to Host 2018 Tony Awards

    Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively […]

  • New York Mayor's Office women

    New York Mayor's Office Details New $5 Million Women's Fund for Film, Theater

    Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively […]

  • Tina review

    West End Review: Tina Turner Musical 'Tina'

    Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively […]

  • Jamie Parker Harry Potter

    Stagecraft Podcast: 'Cursed Child's' Jamie Parker on Joining the 'Harry Potter' Universe

    Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively […]

  • 2018 National Playwrights Conference

    Beth Henley, J.T. Rogers and Sarah DeLappe Set for 2018 O'Neill Playwrights Conference

    Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively […]

  • Love Never Dies - Utica, NY

    Could 'Love Never Dies' Live Again on Broadway?

    Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively […]

  • Three Tall Women Broadway

    Broadway Box Office: Sales Off 11% After Spring Break Rush

    Theatergoers who turn pale at the thought of a musical performed a cappella can breathe easy at”In Transit,” an unconventional, unorthodox and unassuming new Off Broadway musical that should increase subway ridership to East 59th. This seven-person, zero-musician musical is a charming slice-of-life beneath city streets, and considering the evening’s high likability rating and relatively […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content