Went to see Idaho! The Comedy Musical at the Smith Center in Las Vegas for my Friday Field Trip and took along a few friends. We got our tickets last December for one of the final previews of this new show.
The story: a mail order bride arrives in town for the rich, fat cat who has stolen everyone’s land. The handsome lead falls for her and there’s a battle between the men over who will get the girl.
There were some funny moments (a lot of potty humor, some funny, some not) and some nice songs. I loved the riffs that broke the 4th wall and treated the show as a show. The choreography was great and the orchestra kicked ass. The set is minimalist and that worked.
But, the story line is incredibly thin and weak and the characters felt like one-dimensional cutouts. I didn’t really feel invested in them as people; none of them were over the top enough or subtle enough to make their one-dimensional selves work on stage with the exception of Auntie Pearlie (played by Jen Perry). If I don’t care about a character obtaining their goals, there’s not much point.
The concept of parody (Idaho! is a parody on Oklahoma!) didn’t work because it wasn’t big enough. Parody should be funny, intelligent, and big and in that vein it should be risk taking.
My favorite musical theater parody by far one of the most successful is Dames at Sea. An off-Broadway take on 42nd Street. It’s funny and sweet, and most of the music is lovely and brilliant.
The musical numbers were fun, but the problem is, generally, they don’t advance the story. In another critique of the show, the word “review” was used. The numbers create some character development and atmosphere, but not story development. Plus, we couldn’t hum a single tune on the drive home from the theater–an important element of a successful musical.
The hope is to get this show to Broadway and there might be money and momentum enough to get there, and, I wish them well; but, without some work, I don’t foresee a successful run.