Dove Cameron and Zurin Villanueva (Monique Carboni)
Clueless, The Musical has made its Off-Broadway debut at The Pershing Square Signature Theater (The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater) presented by the New Group.
Let's go back to a time when things were much simpler-- shopping malls were the "to do" on Friday nights, cute outfits, and NSYNC was one the hippest band out there. Remember when the times were easier... UGH, AS IF!
So here is a little more about the show and my take on it:
The set is simple and quaint for the small Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theater it plays in, and the ever fitting "bow" that makes up the set that extends off the stage into the audience is totally fitting for a show of this type. You are transported to 90's the minute you walk in the door with some of your favorite tunes from that decade. This makes the nostalgia factor even more.
The show overall itself is cute and simple, and if you are fans of the movie then this is the taste for you. I dread to wonder if this has become the new norm with making iconic movies into movie musicals, but such is the market. I often wonder when we will leave well enough alone. The show gives you everything you need in it- great songs, outfits, and set design.
Justin Mortelliti, Dove Cameron and the cast of Clueless, the Musical. (Monique Carboni)
As for the performers, well of course, there is Cher a girl so psychotically optimistic she can’t see that her bungling attempts at playing Cupid disguise her- is portrayed by the brilliant, and sassy Dove Cameron. It is the perfect role for her considering she knows a thing or two about the world of Beverly Hills and performing-- she brings that into her role. She is CHER and has vocals that are very solid! This role makes it clear that she is destined for Broadway and is not only a great actor but a great (live) singer too!
Zurin Villanueva who plays Cher's partner in crime "Dionne" brings the right amount of attitude, fun, and humor to her role. Ephie Aardema "Tai"; is perfect as the new girl and the rest of the cast shines too. Some standout include Justin Mortelliti "Christian" Will Connoly "Josh", David Thomas Brown "Travis"
The full cast features Ephie Aardema (Tai), Sara Andreas (Heather), Gilbert L. Bailey II (Murray),Dave Thomas Brown (Josh), Dove Cameron (Cher), Will Connolly (Travis), Tiffany Engen (Swing),Katie Goffman (Swing), Danielle Marie Gonzalez (Lucy), Tessa Grady (Amber), Talya Groves (Summer),Chris Hoch (Mel / Mr. Hall / DMV Instructor), L'ogan J'ones (Max), Jeff Kuhr (Swing), Darius Jordan Lee (Sean), Justin Mortelliti (Christian), Megan Sikora (Miss Geist / Ms. Stoeger), Brett Thiele (Elton) and Zurin Villanueva (Dionne).
Don't worry the show has not shied away from some of the most famous lines including the ever popular "AS IF" which is muttered quite often by Cameron's character throughout the show. "That was harsh, TaI" "Oh my god, I am totally buggin." Are also a few of the most popular lines from the movie that are in the stage version.
The clever thing about this show is that all of the music is actually hits from the 1990s that fit with what is happening within the show. Something that director Kristin Hanggi has cleverly done, for instance in the finale "Kids in America" the tune now features the declaration "It's lame to say that you like love/But now I get what people all talk of." Although new songs for the show would have made the show unique, the way which Hanggi has taken hits from that decade and changed the lyrics is cleverly done. You can't smile and sing along when in act two Christian and Cher sing "Bye Bye Bye".
Another fantastic thing about this show is that the strong representation of female leading creatives, who are all women. The book is written by Amy Heckerling (who wrote the original screenplay), Choreography by Kelly Devine (currently represented on Broadway in Come From Away), and Directed by Kristin Hanggi.
Good luck getting a ticket to this show though-- tickets are practically sold out. The show runs Tues, Dec 11th through January 12th, 2019. For tickets visit the New Group's Website.
Pershing Square Signature Center
480 West 42nd Street
New York City, NY 10036