Review: A few notes are missing from "A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet"

Once upon a time, Regina Comet was a pop star who filled the arenas. Now that her career is in desperate need of a reboot, she and her ...


Once upon a time, Regina Comet was a pop star who filled the arenas. Now that her career is in desperate need of a reboot, she and her team have a great idea: they’re going to release a perfume – sorry, a fragrance, called Relevance – and attaches its return to it. Because of course listeners will follow this scent until Regina’s big concert.

Adding a thick frosting of improbability to this far-fetched cake, Regina hires a pair of young songwriters so unconnected that they idolize Barry Manilow – in 2021 – to write the song upon which her future depends, The Perfume Jingle. .

The goal of the story is not, as one would expect, Regina comet, but rather the inexperienced music lovers who simply, timidly call themselves Man 2 and Other Man, and are represented by the show’s creators, Ben Fankhauser and Alex Wyse. Despite the lead roles, Bryonha Marie Parham plays the lead character in “A commercial jingle for the Regina comet” with tireless enthusiasm and good humor.

“Jingle” mostly takes place in the Writers’ Office, where the walls are lined with so many notes, papers, and photos that you might think they are TV detectives stalking a criminal. (Wilson Chin did the stage design, which seems like a lot of work.) But the object of their obsessive hunt is even more elusive than the Zodiac Killer: They desperately want to write “One Hit Song.” This would only be a realistic goal in a universe in which Billboard’s album charts have decisively influenced mainstream pop culture.

Man 2 and Other Man invite Regina (who still wears a shapeless’ 80s-style tracksuit) for a brainstorm. She’s open to samba, or maybe bossa nova, but the resulting song, “Say Hello”, sounds like a Backstreet Boys or ‘NSync single. It is the most pleasant number of the evening, but it also reflects the uncertain tone of the production: Are we made to laugh at the ingenuity of men or their ineptitude?

The most frustrating element about the show is that, despite some sort of last-minute twist, Regina mainly serves as an unintentional wedge between the rookies. Their relationship becomes so strained that during a particularly brutal argument, they throw their notebooks on the floor in disgust.

The production, directed by Marshall Pailet, moves at a steady pace, and Fankhauser and Wyse throw so much of it on the wall that every once in a while a joke acquires a quirky sort of luster through pure surrealism.

“I read that she had an honorary degree in astrophysics,” Man 2 says of Regina. “It makes sense,” Other Man replies, “because his voice is so… good. “

As Other Man, Wyse, looking like an overgrown summer camper in his neat shirt and shorts – another hard-to-analyze costume decision – excels at this kind of exchange. Add her character’s penchant for borscht belt humor (“Take my grandmother, for example,” a line begins, “no really, take it -“) and you’re halfway there. a real comedic role.

“A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet,” an Off Broadway production, is the first new in-person musical to open since theaters closed by Covid-19 last year, and it looks like the first pancake to come out of the pan : it’s a little undercooked, a little distorted, but we will eat it anyway because good, it’s still a pancake.

A commercial jingle for Regina Comet
Until November 14 at the DR2 Theater, Manhattan; 800-447-7400, reginacomet.com. Duration: 80 minutes.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Review: A few notes are missing from "A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet"
Review: A few notes are missing from "A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet"
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