16 November 2019 09:02AM
I didn’t go to Bridge Street last night expecting to discover a new entry in the American Musical Theater canon. I went to support a couple of friends in the cast.
J.A.M.O.T. sounded like a show that would be a lot of fun to be in—an original musical for the whole family, as they say—not so much if you were on the other side of the footlights. But despite the too-cute acronym, a motley cast of pros and amateurs (including Lyra Rosenblatt, one tiny girl who had no lines but held the stage like she was born for the spotlight), awkward transitions, songs and scenes that just stop, but don’t end, Just a Matter of Time (I’d lose the acronym) IS original, a wise, witty, LOL-funny, mind-bending take on time and the way we spend it in our own 24/7 time.
Stephen Sondheim, a genius lyricist, will tell you that getting even one laugh in a lyric is rare, but Sandra Dutton gets a lot of them, many emanating from me. She also gets my admiration, not only for her deeply clever twists on the language of time, but for her craft as a lyricist. Her lyrics actually scan and rhyme perfectly. No small thing in these, er, times.
As for that cast, there are some real actors on stage, and some real performances from some who are not actually otherwise actors. Cassidy A. Maze, a one-woman band of talent and energy just off a whirlwind gig as Diana Benoit’s campaign manager in the Greene County sheriff race, stars as Meg, a young girl who is given the task of ‘finding time’ which has somehow been lost. (I’ll say it has.) She carries the show right along, and manages to capture the confusion, wonder and delight of entering an Alice-in-Wonderland world, despite the choppy pacing. But there is also Robert Tomlinson as Walrus, Brian Dewan as Rhymester, Leslie Ritter as Pig, Matt Bua as River Rat, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting.
The house was full last night and was apparently full Thursday night as well. If the rest of the weekend isn’t sold out, go, and take your big kids. It’s a great lesson and a good show that can only get better. “Just a Matter of Time” could and should have a life beyond Bridge Street. It just needs, well, time, and likely, money, to grow into itself.
Just a note for Scott Petito, who wrote and played the hummable and danceable music. Please dial down your one-man band, so all the words can be heard as (the 75-minute running) time goes by.