Ah, Monday nights in autumn. Most shows are dark. Smash isn’t on. And NYC is awash in benefits and readings. This week, I checked out a developmental reading of Island Song at Le Poisson Rouge. With music by Derek Gregor and lyrics by Sam Carner, this new musical is about 5 young New Yorkers played by Emma Hunton, Sarah Stiles, Raena White, Preston Sadleir, and David Ayers. I won’t be reviewing the show, but here are some things I actually can tell you about it:
- There are a lot of musicals that take place in New York City. And a lot of musicals about young people in New York City. I’ll be honest, here: I didn’t think I really needed to sit through another one. But so many of the songs really capture the experience of living in New York. I’m pretty sure everyone who lives here will be able to relate to something in the show, whether it be being able to hear your neighbors through the wall, saying too much on a date, or working at a temp job.
- David Ayers was in this. I don’t know if this will mean that much to you, but in 2005, I saw him as Fiyero in Wicked. My sister was 14 at the time and fell in love with him. She still asks from time to time what he’s up to, and now I finally have something to tell her. It was nice to see him in something again, even without the green pants. It was also great seeing Sarah Stiles and Emma Hunton again and being introduced to Raena White and Preston Sadleir.
- There was a meta moment where Emma Hunton sang, “I’ve seen Rent,” which is funny because she, you know, actually was in Rent as Maureen.
- If you’re a vegetarian and you go to Le Poisson Rouge, don’t order the nachos because they might accidentally put chicken in it and that can be very upsetting. However, the wait staff is very nice, so still do go to Le Poisson Rouge, but order something safe like the milk and cookies.
- Twenty percent of the ticket sales went to the New York City Firefighter Brotherhood Foundation to benefit rescuers who dedicated their time to helping others during superstorm Sandy whose own homes were destroyed. For a show that pays tribute to a city which is still hurting, this is an awesome move.