According to the program notes: “In 2005, lyricist Mark Campbell asked 18 different composers to put music to his portrait of a smart, resilient, wry, and ultimately romantic gay man going through the heartaches and triumphs of love and sex in the big city. “
The end result of this assignment was a touchy song cycle that played at the New York Music Theatre Workshop shortly after it was composed. The songs may be a bit dry and the lyrics a little disjointed, but that did not stop the Obscure Little Musical Theatre Company from attacking this piece with full force.
At the center of the piece is “The Man” played by the versatile Harv Lester. Lester has an impressive local theater resume and its no wonder he was chosen. Lester has a beautiful voice: deep tones in his lower register and a light quality in his upper, a true tenor range with great control of his instrument. He sang and played each number whimsically and was commanding the stage. Even when he broke character to grab water or chat with the band, he was always in control of the stage. Each song played a different emotion and between his delivery and Joshua Redford’s direction, the character came alive in each of his trysts.
The first half of the song cycle was a bit stronger and more rehearsed than the last half – but I’m sure as his comfortableness with the piece grows so will the second half.
Even though this was a “one-man show” he was joined on stage by a three piece pajama-clad band led by Music Director/pianist Elisa Altman Rosman, who played the varied styles of songs with great finesse. The other star of the show, beside the wonderful Mr. Lester, was the brilliant cellist, Virginia Gardner. Ms. Gardner, who is a staple in theatre orchestras in town, got to step outside of her comfort zone and take center stage as a lover of “The Man” who is a terrible cello player. Ms. Gardner played her cello in that particular moment spectacularly bad, which is just what fit the bill.
Songs From An Unmade Bed is a quick peek inside one man’s search for love, happiness, or just physical intimacy and this little show in the Fort Fringe’s Bedroom is a very enjoyable production.
Running time: 45 minutes.
Songs From An Unmade Bed
By Mark Campbell
Composed by: Debra Barsha, Mark Bennett, Peter Foley, Jenny Giering, Peter Golub, Jake Heggie, Stephen Hoffman, Lance Horne, Gihieh Lee, Steven Lutvak, Steve Marzullo, Brendan Milburn, Chris Miller, Greg Pliska, Duncan Sheik, Kim D. Sherman, Jeffrey Stock and Joseph Thalken. Featuring Harv Lester. Presented by The Obscure Little Musical Theatre Company.