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Another Midsummer Night

Rewritten after its 1995 premiere at Chicago's Goodman Theater, "Another Midsummer Night" is Shakespeare Lite. Neither a parody nor a deconstruction of "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the musical is, rather, a tame updating. The central conceit has Oberon, Titania and a small staff of fairies reawakened after 400 years for another midsummer night, giving Titania a chance to revenge herself on her beloved Oberon for his making her fall in love with an ass. Shakespearean mix-ups ensue, this time around involving an anesthesiologist, an actor and a lawyer. The reciprocal ass in Titania's revenge plot is a "post-postmodernist, neo-Dadaist performance artist" whose nightly show in Central Park goes unattended. (Titania's ironically amusing warning to Peaseblossom and Cobweb: "Leave not the safety of the park.")

With:
Cast: Robert Mammana (Larry), Jennifer Lee Andrews (Helen), Joseph Cassidy (Dan), Jennifer Rosin (Heather), Sybyl Walker (Nicki Patos), Bryan T. Donovan (Pete), Seana Kofoed (Fran), John Lathan (Puck), Marcy Harriell (Peaseblossom), Jolie Jenkins (Cobweb), Michael X. Martin (Oberon), Karen Murphy (Titania).

Puck transforms Nicki into a video image of herself, and Oberon is transformed into a couch potato, complete with can of beer and vinyl recliner. He plants a giant smooch on the TV screen, and that’s the last bit of wit we see.

After a lively first act, the show loses focus and the music sounds dull and repetitious; the lyrics are sometimes clever, but the tempo often lags. The voices are nice enough, the acting pleasant enough, the set green enough, and the flying is fine. There just seems little point; one gimmick doth not a show make.

Another Midsummer Night

PHILADELPHIA

Production: An American Music Theater Festival presentation of a musical in two acts with book and lyrics by Arthur Perlman and music by Jeffrey Lunden. Directed by Michael Maggio. Musical direction, David Holcenberg; choreography, John Carrafa; orchestrations, Bruce Coughlin; sets, Linda Buchanan.

Creative: Costumes, David C. Woolard; lighting, Robert Christen; sound, Jon Weston; production stage manager, Catherine Norberg. Producing director, Marjorie Samoff; artistic director, Ben Levit. Opened Feb. 19, 1997, at the Plays & Players Theater. Reviewed Feb. 23; 260 seats; $27.50 top. Running time: 2 HOURS. Musical numbers: "Another Midsummer Night," "We Call on the Fairies," "Wake Up," "Ill Met by Moonlight," "Follow Me," "This Is Wrong," "Fairyland," "Lullaby," "It's Love, I Think," "The Music of Love," "What Fools They Be," "The Taste of Revenge," "I Never Guessed," "Transformed," "What a Mess," "Everything's Changed," "A Midsummer Dream."

Cast: Cast: Robert Mammana (Larry), Jennifer Lee Andrews (Helen), Joseph Cassidy (Dan), Jennifer Rosin (Heather), Sybyl Walker (Nicki Patos), Bryan T. Donovan (Pete), Seana Kofoed (Fran), John Lathan (Puck), Marcy Harriell (Peaseblossom), Jolie Jenkins (Cobweb), Michael X. Martin (Oberon), Karen Murphy (Titania).

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