Last weekend I attended the official opening night of the brand-new musical, The Black Suits, down at Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre (operated by the Center Theatre Group). Of course being a huge fan of musicals, I simply had to see this, plus the book and lyrics are by Joe Iconis, whose songs were featured on the second season of SMASH (which I absolutely loved). The show, set in Long Island’s Garden City, centers around four childhood friends who have a garage band and decide to take things to the next level by entering a local competition, St. Anne’s Battle of the Bands. Of course drama ensues as egos inflate and friendships and relationships are put to the test.
Overall I really enjoyed the totally high-energy show, especially the musical numbers, I do think the book could use a little tightening and some things could be trimmed off (the show runs over two hours), but that’s to be expected when it comes to a new musical still finding its legs. All four of the boys (Coby Getzug, Jimmy Brewer, Harrison Chad, and Will Roland) were excellent, plus Veronica Dunne was fabulous as the band’s biggest fan who also finds herself romantically involved with more than one band member, catch her singing “Blue Hair” below, one of the show’s best songs.
And then there was Annie Golden, who I absolutely adore and starred in the 1979 film version of Hair (directed by Miloš Forman) as Jeannie Ryan! She was also recently featured on Netflix’s Orange is the New Black, as ‘silent inmate’ Norma Romano. For me, she completely stole the show, I just thought she was great as the band’s ‘advisor’ and Ms. Golden is definitely a reason this show is a must-see!
The Black Suits (a possible Broadway contender) is playing now through November 24th (get tickets here), if you’re a musical theater aficionado like myself, you can’t miss out on this world premiere.
Scattered among the drums and guitars are the hopes, dreams, angst and rebellion of a new generation screaming to be heard.
Joe Iconis made a big Smash when he penned “Broadway Here I Come” for the NBC series. Now this Jonathan Larson Award-winning composer takes us behind the music as four teenage Long Island misfits band together to escape Garden City, to conquer the world, to be “cool and whatever.”
Now if the Black Suits can only win the St. Anne’s Battle of the Bands, their friendship just might survive the perilous transition to adulthood.
The Black Suits celebrates the wannabe rock star in all of us: with a score that sends us out of the theatre singing and longing to be eighteen again.