In Transit is a delightful bon-bon box of a musical. A loose structure of interconnected stories holds together 11 appealing New Yorkers and 16 catchy production numbers. A prerecorded introduction by the producers reminds us that all the sounds we hear are created by human voice. The pieces are performed a cappella and the “orchestra” is a beatboxing whiz appropriately named Boxman.
As evidenced by the many hearty laughs and heartfelt claps, the tales told are highly relatable. It’s not so much new ground broken as old ground covered in a fresh way. A few of the jokes might be missed by those unfamiliar with the eccentricities of the New York subway. But the human elements touched on are universal.
The foot-tapping melodies are filled with clever rhythmic wording. The feel-good energy comes from proven sources. The book, music and lyrics come with a warm and friendly pedigree having been created by Kristen Anderson-Lopez of Frozen fame along with James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth. Deke Sharon who worked on Pitch Perfect — the movie that brought “aca” to a wider audience — developed the splendid vocal arrangements, which tease out all the details.
In the central part of inspiring actress Jane, is the engaging Margo Seibert. Last seen on Broadway in Rocky, she fittingly knows when to punch a note. As her agent, Trent, Justin Guarini brings sensitivity and thought to his every line. James Snyder is her slightly beaten-down puppy of a love interest with the gentle tone. Their emotionally spot-on duet “But, Ya Know” is a highlight. Providing abundant humor and attitude is Moya Angela in her roles as a boss, a mother and a station agent.
Every other part is brought to life by a large cast gifted singers. There is unmatched support needed when every lead is also someone else’s backup. Holding them all together is Boxman, alternately played by Chesney Snow and Steven “HeaveN” Cantor. I saw Snow handle the immense and intense responsibility of this Greek chorus/human sound machine and can well understand why it would take at least two sets of vocal chords to cover 8 performances a week.
The production is directed and choreographed with high energy by three-time Tony winner Kathleen Marshall. She makes terrific use of her deep bench and the 3/4 round stage. Donyale Werle creates myriad public and private spaces, and of course train cars, using brightly colored plastic seats, lighted stairways and a moving belt. And costume designer Clint Ramos has provided easy looks plus a show-stopping gown of MTA cards.
If like me you are more than ready to inject a little joy in your day, In Transit is the perfect pick-me-up. Running a lively 100 minutes, the show is a fit for many tastes and ages. Tickets are currently available through June 25, 2017 at http://www.intransitbroadway.com/. All seats at The Circle and the Square have terrific sightlines, so $89 will get you there.
Tagged: Broadway, Cathy Hammer, Deke Sharon, In Transit, James-Allen Ford, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Margo Seibert, Musical, New York Theater, Russ Kaplan, Sara Wordsworth
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