Times Square Arts Center, NY, NY
extended through January 5, 2015
by Jenn Curran
Ten years ago, composer Michael Rheault had a vision. He saw a pair of star-crossed-dressers standing on the deck of a ship. A little bit “Some Like it Hot,” a little bit “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” and a lot brand new. It was from this idea that the latest Off-Broadway hit, “Fabulous! The Queen of New Musical Comedies,” was born. With his writing partner, Dan Derby, the two men crafted a musical that is two parts throwback and one very large leap ahead. Michael and Dan both live in Greater Springfield, MA.
Our two heroines are Laura Lee Handle and Jane Mann, also known in the dive bar circuit as Mann Handle. The two ladies have found themselves without options, victims of mistaken identity, and a robbery gone bad. This pair of would-be divas land themselves jobs on the cruise ship Queen Ethel May heading to New York City, where they hope to find themselves real employment, men and new shoes.
On the surface, "Fabulous!" is fun and it sparkles with energy. Don’t let the title fool you though; look and listen closely and you will find that "Fabulous!" has a deeper meaning at its rhinestone-encrusted heart.
In the hysterically funny and poignant song “Falling for a Girl In the Closet," the audience sees a very closeted Hollywood movie star fall in love with someone he assumes is a woman. The song is an honest peak into one man’s struggle with his sexual identity.
“This is one of the songs we have re-written the least. We wrote it and haven’t really touched it much since. It just worked from the get go,” said Dan Derby.
Michael and Dan both wanted to create songs you can’t get out of your head. Michael stated, “We hoped to write a show that people left feeling happy, singing a song and believing that the world is a pretty good place. There aren’t a lot of new shows on Broadway like this today.”
According to a very positive review by the New York Times, a sweet and light-hearted show is exactly what Dan and Michael have delivered. When asked about the Times review, both men admitted to serious nerves, but excitement too. “The New York Times can be rough. It was very positive though, and we were elated!” Dan added.