F#%KING UP EVERYTHING @ The Elektra Theater
A hipster love story, with a punk/indie score, proves to be cleverly written, unadulterated fun, with ironic T-shirts, and the occasional Avenue Q like puppets. F#@king Up Everything first debuted at the New York Musical Theater Festival in 2009 where it won many awards. Since then, the show had gone on to Washington DC, where it became further developed, and highly praised. Now back in New York City, the show is more than ready to rock the Elektra Theater.
The musical grabs you from the start, and has you laughing until the end when all the characters are paired (or menage-a-troised) up. The show tells the old fashioned tale of the geeky, painfully awkward boy, Christian, who falls in love with the sweet, hot girl, Julianna, but the only thing in his way is the lady-stealing best friend, Jake. The subplot consists of Tony, the stoner, and band member of Jake’s band, Ironic Maiden. His girlfriend is Ivy. She is noticeably unhappy with their relationship, and secretly in love with Jake. The music, by David Eric Davis, is pulsating, funny, and at moments, the show takes the time out to let us care about the character’s personal story. For me, this was one of the highlights of the show because I liked getting to know the characters beyond their ironic surface. The upbeat songs were catchy and I couldn’t help but to bop my head to them. It’s a lighthearted musical, with tongue and cheek humor.
Max Crumm (Christian) is painfully awkward to a point where he’s still likable. It would’ve been easy to have made the character annoying. However Max Crumm’s portrayal is done with ease and energy. The awkwardness of the character appears to feels natural to him. His character, also, displays some awesomely funny puppeteering skills. It’s hard to believe that Katherine Cozumel (Julianna) is making her New York theater debut. She is exuberant, candid, and brought depth to both her character and show. Jason Gotay (Jake) manages to make an unappealing character appealing, by perfectly blending cockiness and sensitivity, while being comedic. Douglas Widick (Tony), was entertaining to watch, as the stereotypical stoner. The stereotype towards the end was whisked away in a surprising yet hilarious scene. Dawn Cantwell (Ivy) impressively layers her character with multitudes of emotion. Lisa Birnbaum (Arielle) is vibrant and sexy as the make you or break you cougar. My only minor problem here was that she seemed a little young to be a cougar. George Salazar (Drummer) won over the audience with his comedic flair as the monosyllabic drummer in Jake’s band.
The great performances and catchy tunes give the show energy, which makes it fun to watch. Luckily for F#@king Up Everything, the show caters to everyone ranging from hipsters, hipsters within, and to those who enjoy watching a show parodying hipsters. Go ‘get your heart on,’ at this musical, and bring your indie, punk rocking, funny bone.