Blank Page Productions

presents

CRATCHETT FARM

Music by MARSHALL PAILET

Book and Lyrics by AL PAILET

 

Dillon’s Reprise Room

245 W. 54 St. (bet. Broadway & Eighth Ave.)

Tickets: (212) 352-3101 or www.theatermania.com

www.CratchettFarm.com

 

September 5 – 20, 2003, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30

 

Directed and Choreographed by JAY DUFFER

Musical Director BEN COHN

Stage Manager ALLISON HALL

Marketing and Communications HUGH HYSELL COMMUNICATIONS

Press Representation CORINNE ZADIK

Cast

Todd – Michael Gillis

Tony – Karl duHoffmann

Zschoenczyhoh – Justis Bolding

Abercrombie/Boy/Ensemble – Hale Appleman

Neighbor/Boy/Ensemble – Eric Briarley

Mr. Gramble/Boy/Ensemble – Richard True

Bill/Boy/Ensemble – Daniel P. Vissers

Mom/Warden/Ensemble – Joanna Young

 

Musicians

Drums – Sean McDaniel

Bass – Michael Keunnen

 

credit: Carol Rosegg

What were you doing when you were sixteen? You may have just finished a year of biological science that included sex education. You may have been playing for one of the school teams. You may have even been in the drama club. If so, take it as the great anomaly it is when I tell you that the music for the fun new play CRATCHETT FARM was written by veteran Broadway performer and current high school student Marshall Pailet. He is 16!

Sixteen? Yes. Marshall Pailet, currently enrolled at NYC’s LaGuardia School for the Performing Arts is responsible for the music and the orchestrations. Perfectly paired with partner and parent Al Pailet, author of the oft-witty book and lyrics, Marshall Pailet has created a CRATCHETT FARM to be proud of. An unlikely combination of stagecraft know-how, insider winks, wryly-pleasing direction (Jay Duffer), and teenage sensibilities, this one was a laugh-out-loud type of event that was aided greatly by the very talented ensemble cast.

In a seemingly normal little suburb called CRATCHETT FARM we find a high school biology class, an artistic young man yearning to make musicals, a handful of jocks, and a girl named Zschoenczyhoh (pronounced, of course, "Skanky Ho" – she’s Hungarian). Add to the mix a vacationing employee of Satan (here, taking the form of a dog and our narrator), a song about birds and smegma, and a science project called "SPERM! The Musical" and you have a modern musical, written for the open-minded, now audience it is geared to.

Though the teen sensibilities mentioned are responsible for the more lowbrow aspects of the piece, like the smegma song, and the whole fascination with writing a musical about the human reproductive system, it does not mean that these influences are bad. They are, nevertheless, of obvious origin. CRATCHETT FARM also has a lot of skill and wit behind it. With a nod to the traditional musical convention of the reprise, there is a song called "The I Want Song" that when reprised includes the lyrics, "This is the reprise to ‘The I Want Song’." Not a brilliant observation, but a fun one nonetheless. Then there is a nod to the off-off-Broadway crossover (presumably aimed at a show like URINETOWN), when SPERM! goes from classroom production to fancy stage show after a NY Times review. Lofty aspirations at any age!

The one big problem with CRATCHETT FARM is the ending, which gets a bit muddled and rushed. Most likely due to a decision to run the play as a shorter piece without an intermission, to make it a smash it would either need to be trimmed at the end, or expanded into a full two-act musical.

Pros and cons weighed, I say see CRATCHETT FARM for the pure fun of it. Good music, silly stuff to laugh at, and the novelty of a young composer do nothing to diminish interest.

- Kessa De Santis -

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