City Kid The Musical is two hours of virtually non-stop singing and dancing, a music 
video come to life, featuring a tunefully accessible score and inventive 
choreography, performed by a sensational young cast and backed up by the best 
band in town.

The title song gets things going, a show tune to a hip hop beat, and we know right 
off that we’re in for some excitingly choreographed and performed musical 
numbers. Jimmy (discovery John Keefe) is a cute but slightly nerdy teen whose 
goal in life is to “earn the right to be a City Kid.”  Keefe is a charmer, and it’s loads 
of fun just watching his awkward attempts to “be cool” by imitating the real City 
Kids, for whom coolness just seems to come naturally.  He has an eye for Anna (sexy 
girl next door Arielle Paul) but she’s dating Slick (hottie Thomas Hobson), the 
baddest bad boy around.  Anna’s brother Danny (charismatic Jake Wesley 
Stewart) invites Jimmy to a party where strippers perform behind colored glass and 
drug deals go down.

Anna is “caught in this street life,” and she wants “Something More,” though Lena 
(Marliss Amiea, a young Janet Jackson), her rival for Slick’s attention is all in her 
face asking “You Got a Problem?” Then Anna and Jimmy catch each other’s eye 
across a crowded dance floor a la West Side Story and sing the jazzy R&B 
“Something About You.” Slick will have nothing of this new rival for Anna’s 
affection. “Nobody’s gonna take what’s mine,” he declares, and makes a deal 
with Jimmy.  If he wants to be a City Kid, he needs to take a coke-filled baggie to 
the appropriately named Badboy (a very scary Senyo “Dna-1” Amoeku).  Naïve 
Jimmy takes Danny up on his offer, and soon finds himself doing time in the slammer.

Can true love survive Jimmy’s incarceration? Can Jimmy ever be the same after 
experiencing prison life?  Who will live and who will die? These questions will not be 
answered…until after intermission.

City Kid, directed with passion and high energy by Steve Tomkins, is the brainchild 
of creator/lyricist Adrienne Anderson, best known for co-writing numerous Barry 
Manilow songs (Daybreak, Could it be Magic, Some Kind of Friend). The music, by 
Peter Brunetta and Rick Chudacoff, has much of the sound and feel of those and 
other hits of the 70s/80s, though with a more contemporary hip-hop beat, 
especially as brought to life though the wow-worthy choreography of Bradley 
“Shooz” Rapier of The Groovaloos.  

City Kid The Musical aims to be another Rent or a more contemporary West Side 
Story. In terms of entertainment value, it succeeds, though it lacks the reality base 
that gave those shows their emotional punch. In City Kid, characters fall in love, 
break up, and one major character even gets killed (shades of Bernardo’s death in 
West Side Story), but without the emotional involvement that made those shows 

Still, one can hardly complain during the more than a dozen Shooz-
choreographed production numbers. City Kids’ amazing young cast is almost 
always on stage, scarcely getting a chance to take a breather before returning 
for yet another song/dance workout.  You won’t find a more talented bunch of 
triple-threats in town that Tara Alkazian, Brittany Carson, Craig Donnely, Michelle 
Haro, Jaylen Moore, Jacob Nixon, Melina Rochelle, Mimi Vitale, Dylan Vox, and Ty 
West.  Each of them has his/her moment to shine, though cute breakdancing 
Nixon and sexy rapper Vox both have particularly “standout” moments. The 
band, directed by keyboardist Patrick Gandy, is so good that each member 
deserves mention: Darrell Diaz on keyboards/programming, Del Atkins on bass, 
Linda Taylor on guitar, Tony Moore on drums, and Amo Lucas on percussion.

Alex Berry’s set design effectively carries the Hudson’s brick walls onto the stage, 
and Eric Snodgrass’ sound design is rock concert loud and pulsating (though a bit 
too high volume for my taste), and Christina Wright and Jeff Garner-Prophetik 
have designed literally dozens of colorful street-ready costumes.

City Kid The Musical, with its talented cast, amazing non-stop dancing, and 
tuneful score, is an exciting addition to L.A. musical theater scene.

Hudson Backstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood.

–Steven Stanley
 October 26, 2007
Photos: Craig Schwartz

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