Corrections or additions?
This review by Joan Crespi was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on
September 16, 1998. All rights reserved.
Review: `Move It and It’s Yours’
Find Kelsey Theater, on the campus of Mercer County
College, and you’re in for a delightful evening as "Move It And
It’s Yours!," a fine and funny new musical, plays there through
September 27. Written by Trenton-born Bill Weeden, with David Finkle
and Sally Fay, and staged by Susan Rosenstock, the musical, a world
premier and Passage Theater Company’s first major production under
producing artistic director June Ballinger, entertains and makes you
smile. That this professionally-produced new show is running here
rather than Off-Broadway is our good fortune.
The play’s main character, a baby grand piano, occupies center stage
in an otherwise bare apartment. Charlie, its owner, is about to marry
for a second time and is in the process of moving. He plans to give
away the piano to the first comer who will move it out. The plot is
slight and simple, but it is not the plot that captivates us: it’s
the succession of wacky, odd, and amusing characters who parade
Charlie’s apartment to consider his offer.
Charlie is a middle-aged man, a would-be musician who dreamed of
as a song writer even as he played small piano gigs at night.
without acknowledged sorrow, he sold out his musical potential for
the good life, becoming instead the "crackerjack" editor of
Cheese Horizons magazine.
While he long ago faced his lack of success, Charlie is now giving
away the instrument (literally) of his dream, giving it away without
regret, willing to let his old dream become "someone else’s
because his fiancee has no room for the piano in her apartment. The
uncomplicated plot is, finally, gently moving, for Charlie learns
in the course of an afternoon that even after his dream has dissolved,
the piano gives him pleasure. And his fiance? See the show and find
While this is Charlie’s story — and he is onstage for its entire
two-hour duration — he (and perhaps his ex-wife) are the show’s
most conventional characters. Charlie is played with a casual and
believable ease by Bob Walton. He is supported by an gifted ensemble
all of whom play their characters (sometimes two or three) superbly,
and with a fine sense of comic timing.
Andre Montgomery is terrific as the hyped-up jogger who delivers
into a voice recorder, and later, as a red-sequin-clad artist who
wants to blow up the piano. Laura Kenyon as Bryna, director of a
citizens center, acts and sings and struts beautifully, with a
accompanying senior chorus line whose members carry four-pronged
Kenyon returns to good effect as two very different, demure
Tom Frey is excellent as Jared, a tongue-tied, straightlaced, nervous
man with the tape measure who surreptitiously measures the apartment.
It’s the piano’s soon-to-be-vacated home that he and his wife want;
and they’ll take the piano, too, if they get it. Very shortly after,
actor Frey reappears is Sheldon, a funky British rock artist who wants
the piano to rock on; Rebecca Dennis plays Eloise, his petite,
girl friend, who doesn’t.
Jill Abramovitz also plays three roles, including Charlie’s fiance,
Susan, and his ex-wife, Diane. Steve Liebman is touching, lonely,
and funny as Lou, the fat hardware store owner; he doesn’t want the
piano either, but he’s following a dark-haired, timorous, little
thief up to the apartment where she has fled.
The writing is superb as all of the characters who come into Charlie’s
apartment are distinctly and vividly drawn in their peculiar oddities.
It’s not merely the parade of wacky characters that captures our
but their interaction as they vie with each other for the free piano.
And it’s not only the acting and the writing that are top-notch. The
singing voices are, too. So are the songs, which each character
on the baby grand, each cleverly suited to its character. Would-be
piano owners coming to view the piano and try it out bring their own
musical talents, as do the actors. Every actor who sits down at the
piano plays their own music. Offstage keyboards are by musical
Wendell Smith. Philip Heckman’s appropriate and often delightful
underscore the comedy.
Certainly August Wilson’s 1990 play "The Piano Lesson" went
deeper, but this play has its own funny lesson to teach. While the
wisdom this play puts forth — Life is difficult, Life is what
you make it — may not be new or profound, it doesn’t matter. The
lesson is as enjoyable as they come.
— Joan Crespi
Kelsey Theater, Mercer County College, 609-584-9444. Continues through
September 27. Adults $15 to $25; children $10.
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