Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

April 28, 2008


Broad Brook Opera House, CT
through May 18
April 27, 2008
By Donna Bailey-Thompson

Igor, the ubiquitous hunchback of Frankenstein notoriety – oh dear, here comes an unbidden pun – has a back story thanks to local playwright Howard R. Odentz, who not only wrote the book but the lyrics and music for "Piecemeal" now enjoying its world premiere at Broad Brook’s Opera House. Actually, there are two Igors – as a young boy (winsomely portrayed by Benjamin VanDine) and as a young man (a charming Erik Landry) who imparts a nobility of purpose: he aspires to become a doctor and not follow in the footsteps of his grave-robbing, avaricious parents, Asher (Jim Metzler) and gap-toothed Gerta (Jaime Taber) who is particularly nasty. They are also into the dead body parts business. Hence the title, "Piecemeal." Well, how do you suppose a monster is created – out of whole cloth? Igor meets Victor Von Frankenstein (Dallas Hosmer), a dandy of a fop whose parents have paid for his medical school education but he longs to become a fashion designer. When he sings, "I Love To Sew," his sincerity is not questioned. Victor and Igor swap identities and all is well. Sorta, in an Earnest sort of way plus there’s a loving correspondence a la Cyrano with the shallow, spirit-swigging Elizabeth (Megan Fish).

Director Sharon FitzHenry and Musical Director Amy Roberts-Crawford have done the script proud. The orchestrations are the work of Bruce Zimmerman. There are 29 musical numbers, an 8-piece orchestra, a cast of 14 (24 characters total) and fine singing voices. The Set Design (David Gilfor), Costumes (Ronnie Cooley, Solveig Pflueger), Lighting Design (Diane St. Amand, Sharon FitzHenry) and Sound (Jeff Clayton) are all first rate. This is community theater with a professional mindset.

Writer/composer Odentz’s first original full-length musical, "In Good Spirits" which premiered in 2004, continues to be performed at theaters around the country and returns to the Opera House in September. Once Odentz knew the beginning and ending of "Piecemeal," he said, "It pretty much wrote itself." "Piecemeal" flows surprisingly well for a Broadway-size musical that skipped the workshop phase and went straight from the script into production.