What if, before Eve was plucked from Adam’s rib, the Devil himself had stepped in to provide The World’s First Man with his very own Same-Sex Partner?
It’s from this titillating concept that Chandler Warren and Wayne Moore have confectioned ADAM & EVE and STEVE: A Musical (aka Adam and Eve and Steve – The Musical), a fresh new musical comedy so absolutely fabulous I can’t wait to see it again.
Satan himself (or Beelzebub as he prefers to be called) gets things off to a pizzazzy start with “Me” (a celebration of self if there ever was one) before Adam even takes stage, and though it’s likely not Steve our scantily clad hero is thinking about when he sings “I’m Waiting,” thanks to the Devil that is exactly who Adam gets—and seems absolutely satisfied with—until God offers him a female option.
From then on, it’s Steve vs. Eve and Eve vs. Steve, each doing his or her darnedest to persuade Adam to “Choose Me,” a battle more easily waged than won given that Adam likes them both (and since face it, Steve got there first).
Book and lyric writer Warren and composer Moore have set Adam & Eve And Steve in a wild-and-crazy mix of the contemporary and the prehistoric where, despite the threesome being the universe’s first men and woman, they bandy about references to Kim Kardashian and TMZ and Ikea and WeHo. (Some may carp about this lack of logic, but I loved every absurdly wacky bit of it.)
Warren’s book and lyrics are as laugh-packed as any musical comedy lover could hope for while Moore’s hummable melodies are likely to please musical comedy lovers every bit as much. In fact, there’s not a single dud among the show’s dozen and a half songs, a couple of ballads in particular (“What Love Is” and “Home Life”) crying out for multiple listens.
Michael Spaziani follows his new-boy-in-town breakout performance in Violet with an utterly irresistible Adam, and that’s not simply because the Boston-to-L.A. transfer looks plenty sexy in a pair of leafy trunks. The utter sincerity which Spaziani brings to the role combined with a Les Miz-ready tenor that needs not an iota of amplification adds up to yet another reason the Hartt School grad is one to watch.
Girl-next-door charmer Kelley Dorney too is on a roll, having just scored raves for her title role performance in the Marmo-directed Serial Killer Barbie. Like Dorney’s Barbie, her Eve is no shrinking violet but a feisty fighter for the man she loves, and like her costar, Dorney has pipes that can reach the rafters.
Jotapé Lockwood proves the evening’s biggest revelation as Steve in a performance of such unrestrained joie-de-gay that it’s hard to imagine anyone not falling under the Second Man On Earth’s spell, Adam included, and his vocals in “What Love Is” and (duetting with Dorney) in “Home Life” are bona fide tear-inducers.
Last but not least, post-retirement-age duo Weston Nathanson and William Knight steal every scene they’re in as Beelzebub and God, proving that like fine wines, triple-threats just get better as time goes by, and never more so than and when soft-shoeing “Song And Dance Man” in Velma-&-Roxie mode, just one of choreographer Tara Raucci’s many delightful contributions. (Adam and Steve’s balletic pas de deux is another.)
Musical director Moore provides expert onstage keyboard accompaniment throughout, and with the NoHo Art Center’s smaller space offering some of the best intimate theater acoustics in town, this is one musical that needs no amplification whatsoever.
What ADAM & EVE and STEVE: A Musical could benefit from is a less Fringey set than the one designer Tim Drier and set artist DJ Rabiola give it. (Perhaps something a bit more Garden Of Eden-ish than plain black walls?)
Fortunately this quibble is rendered relatively minor thanks to Paul McGee’s imaginative lighting, with special snaps for the fiendishly red glow cast on Beelzebub’s devilish countenance. The three young leads look quite delectable in costume designer Crystal Craft’s leafy Eden-wear, and their older counterparts are spiffy indeed in their rather more elegant garb.
Scott E. Lambert is executive producer. Katy Jacoby is co-producer and assistant director. Brittany Marmo is stage manager. Raffi Mauro, Joel Halstead, and Philip Rodriguez cover the roles of Beelzebub, Adam, and Steve.
Twenty (or even ten) years ago ADAM & EVE and STEVE: A Musical might have been too “niche” for anything other than an LGBT theater to debut, but with marriage equality now the law of the land, it seems entirely appropriate that a mainstream company like Theatre 68 is giving it its World Premiere.
A show whose time has indeed come, ADAM & EVE and STEVE: A Musical proves every bit as yummy as that very first apple must have tasted to Eve’s and Adam’s lips … and to Steve’s taste buds as well.
July 10, 2015
Photos: Jessica Tunstad
A return visit to ADAM & EVE and STEVE: A Musical four weeks into its two-month run proves every bit as much a reviewer-pleaser as on Opening Night, the production’s rising stars Michael Spaziani and Kelley Dorney revealing themselves (pun intended) even more appealing and vocally gifted than the first time round and stage vets Weston Nathanson and William Knight continuing to milk every delicious Devil-vs.-God moment for all their worth.
As for the effervescent Steve, if you can imagine the love child of James Stewart and Paul Lynde clad only in leafy briefs and singing with a vibrato that would do Gaylord Ravenal proud (accent on the gay), you’ll have some idea of what understudy Philip Rodriguez (stepping into the role of Steve for only the second time and with less than 24 hours’ notice) adds to the already spicy mix.
If ADAM & EVE and STEVE: A Musical was already yummy on Opening Night, it is even more scrumdiddlyumptious the second time around.
–August 2, 2015