NO FLOTATION DEVICES NEEDED FOR THIS FABULOUS, FUNNY MUSICAL
By Lori Simmons Zelenko
Set sail on the Barracuda! You’re invited to head out to sea on surfside’s answer to Studio 54! Come on board, so what if there’s an earthquake looming? Join the sleaziest disco owner ever plus beauteous babes, handsome hunks and more! All make up a motley crew that brings back memories of paisley and platforms. No worries, you’ll stay afloat.
Ride the waves with the new Broadway hit musical, DISASTER! Laugh, smile, sing along to the smoothest pop tunes of the 70s – from disco hits like Knock on Wood and Hot Love to ballads like Muskrat Love and the ever syrupy Feelings – find the humor that lurks amid the craziness and chaos of a disaster at sea – well, Barracuda never gets that far from the dock, but it does find itself in deep water.
Rollicking fun from the moment the curtain rises, this naturally nautical jukebox musical is buoyed by songs from when Starsky and Hutch maintained law and order. Cleverly spoofing the disaster movies of the 70s – The Poseidon Adventure and Earthquake, DISASTER! combines the best of both – the sometimes silly pop music of the era and the drama of “I’m not making it out of here alive – or am I?” movies.
The show is a “dream come true” for Seth Rudetsky, the show’s co-writer (with Jack Plotnick). Rudetsky plays the fit and feisty Professor Ted Schneider whose wisdom – right or wrong – is not always heeded by the wayward cast. He combined the music and movies of his wonder years to create this mash-up and cast his friends. No wonder there’s a wicked wink among good buddies.
Rudetsky’s on stage as the conscientious but sometimes clueless scientist, trying to avert collateral damage and finding true love while he’s at it. Like Donna Summer chants, the floating disco where DISASTER! unfolds is all about finding “hot stuff baby tonight…looking for a lover who needs another.” But although this floating nightclub does capsize (spoiler alert), the wild and wonderfully clichéd array of characters is not sunk.
Jennifer Simard steals the show though as a wayward nun (Sister Mary) – a singing one at that – with a bad, bad habit. Her sin is our pleasure! The soundtrack of polyester playlists is treated irreverently here…soulful tunes or divalicious disco – the music adds a fun but ironic commentary on the cast of characters – each with their own zany twist offset by exceptional talent: Newcomer Lacretta Nicole has a powerhouse voice. Faith Prince is gloriously tacky as a tap-dancing retiree. Rachel York shines as the bombshell who’s no vacant bimbo; her roar as a liberated lounge singer puts Katy Perry to shame. Chad (Adam Pascal, RENT) rekindles romance with his ‘left him at the altar love,’ the uptight inspector Marianne (Kerry Butler, HAIRSPRAY). Together they anchor the action as the haphazard plot is steered with genuine glee by Tony, the sleazoid disco king (Roger Bart, THE PRODUCERS).
DISASTER! needs no floatation device! Be prepared to sail away on waves of laughter! At the Nederlander Theatre. www.disastermusical.com