Monday, January 22, 2007

Michael Sommers in the NJ Star Ledger Reviews Big Voice

First he describes the theatre and the synagogue, then a very nice review:

Plush, commodious folding seats -- far more comfy than those in many a Broadway house -- handle 199 spectators.

A new two-man musical, "The Big Voice: God or Merman?," is a fitting inaugural show for Actors Temple Theater since it concerns spirituality and people in the entertainment industry.

Neatly written and performed by entertainers Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin, this easygoing yet surprisingly heartfelt musical autobiography details their personal and professional journeys.

Growing up in Brooklyn, the effusive Brochu dreamed of becoming the pope before realizing he was simply attracted to the robes and rituals. Raised a Baptist, the restrained Schalchlin couldn't wait to quit the Deep South for a career with a lounge act. As one of his songs notes: "Country boys don't care for queers/At least until they've had some beers."

The men finally met aboard a cruise ship in the Bermuda Triangle and began to make beautiful music together. The smooth and the rocky parts of their 22-year relationship are recounted warmly. They're nice guys who share a droll slant on life and it's a sweet little show.

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