Musical: “Songs from an Unmade Bed”
Group: Citilites Theatre
Venue: Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle
Dates: July 15, 16, 17, 22, 23
Story: A man lies in the bed of his New York City apartment, ruminating about the loves of his life. His room becomes his performance space as he relates various romances he’s had with sundry lovers, and what he’s taken from each as experiences that have shaped his philosophy as a single man in the big city.
Highlights: Justin Ivan Brown has an easy delivery and a smooth way with conveying the thoughts of lyricist Mark Campbell in this one-act, 60-minute, one-man revue that deftly combines Campbell’s lyrics with the music of 18 different composers. Campbell merges his stylish, introspective writing with talents such as Duncan Sheik (“Spring Awakening”), Mark Bennett, Jenn Giering, Chris Miller, Steven Lutvak and other young composers to take our nameless host through a series of ex-lovers, one-night stands and wistful reminiscences.
Other Info: Program notes observe that “this show is dedicated to all the lovers out there.” Director and musical director Seth Ward Pyatt smoothly blends the easy-going delivery of Brown with a smart musical trio comprised of pianist Nick Moramarco, cellist Cory Webb and percussionist Anthony Wininger to provide a satisfying hour of entertainment.
Brown capably combines the ability of a fine actor with the satiny style of an accomplished troubadour to shape Campbell’s thoughtful and at times playful lyrics into a nifty little performance. GP Hunsaker’s set design puts that title bed in the center of the action with an assortment of knickknacks strewn about, all lit effectively by Steven Miller. Cindy Duggan provides a smidgen of choreography for Brown’s moves on the minuscule Gaslight Theater stage.
Really, though, it’s just a straightforward offering of songs from the heart by the solo performer that gives us a glimpse into one man’s take on the sprawling emotional possibilities of life in New York City, for better or worse. Brown shows us, with his adept handling of tunes both poignant and comic, that he’s an adroit choice by director Pyatt to welcome us into his world.
Rating: A 4 on a scale of 1-to-5.