fjfj Hollywood Fringe doesn’t get any more professional than it does in 2Cents Theatre’s West Coast Premiere of Fugitive Songs, Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen’s stunning song cycle now lighting up the stage at Three Clubs on Vine.

With bluegrass echoes of the song-writing duo’s The Burnt Part Boys, albeit with a more alternative-rock beat, Fugitive Songs takes its stellar sextet of performers across Middle America on assorted journeys reminiscent at times of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs For A New World.

All six seek escape, and whether this means flight from a One-Hour Photo job “providing photo evidence of other people’s lives” or the futureless popularity of a high school cheerleader or the dreary 9-to-5 of a Subway “sandwich artiste” doing “maximum time at minimum wage,” they undertake cross-county journeys either driven or biked or thumbed while imagining getting mixed up in a gas station robbery or exchanging lives with a kidnapped Patty Hearst or seeing an ex in every passing car.

Admittedly, without the contextual set-up of a more traditional book musical, audiences may find themselves listening more to music and voices than tuning into Tysen’s lyrics, which along with Miller’s haunting melodies is why I went home and ordered the show’s 2012 Cast Recording CD from Amazon.

Whether hauntingly beautiful or delightfully quirky, Miller and Tysen’s Fugitive Songs are brought to life in Three Clubs’ in-the-round cabaret setting by as charismatic and vocally gifted a sextet as anyone could possibly wish for.

Tiffany Asta, Katy Harvey, Jessica J’aime, Michael Levine, Juan Lozano, and Reagan Osborne are not just distinctively different “types,” each one dazzles with his or her own unique vocal gifts.

Director Kristen Boulé makes imaginative use of every Three Clubs inch, and with a costume change for virtually every song, this is no mere Fringe offering but something truly out-of-the ordinary. Kudos too to musical director Joshua Eli Kranz and the production’s sensational live band.

With Miller and Tysen set to make their Broadway debut with Tuck Everlasting next year, this is one song-writing duo with great things ahead of them. Check out Fugitive Songs at the Fringe to find out why.


–Steven Stanley
June 17, 2105