In a scene in [title of show] where Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen depict the days following their musical’s opening, they discuss whether or not to read reviews. Gentlemen, this review is safe.
Hunter, “Jeffy-effy-effy,” Susan Blackwell and Heidi Blickenstaff are back at the Vineyard Theater for another run of their deliciously snarky and inspirational heavy-meta labor of love. Two starving artists (Bell and Bowen) with frighteningly encyclopedic theatrical knowledge and gifted gal pals write a musical for a festival about their experience … writing a musical for a festival. It’s just nutty enough to work — and in this crew’s hands, brilliantly performed, too. Despite the ecstatically obscure references, [title of show] isn’t just for college theater dorks; it’s for anybody who wants to create, especially those who feel stunted. ‘Die Vampire, Die’ (arguably the greatest number) outs those shamefully familiar creative bloodsucking naysayers and thoughts of self-doubt. While the advice to ignore them is perhaps too simple, the moment — like the whole show — is infallibly poignant.
Two years later, the quartet is still going strong — and still playing themselves. The cast’s rapport is so strong by now that any recreated antipathy feels somewhat rehearsed. These moments are few — when Jeff and Hunter prepare to submit their musical, their quiet pride is as fresh and honest as it must have been the day they raced to the mailbox.
By the time this review drops, you will have roughly 38 days to see this play. Plan accordingly.