Monday, July 31, 2017



Here’s a math problem for you:

Take four fine actors:  Danielle Davila (Mary Kate), Madison Kauffman (Barbie), Maisie Rose (Melissa) and Tiffany Tatreau (Amber) as the Math team in a formerly all-girls Catholic school.

Add: Jake Morrissy (Leroy) as the new guy in school to join the team and Sharon Sachs (Ms. McGery) as the adult to move it along.

Multiple them with the pressures  of winning a prestigious math tournament in this  1 book/story ( Laura Stratford and Larry Little)  +  music ( by David Kornfeld and Dylan MarcAurele)  + lyrics ( Alex Higgin-Hauser) 

And what do you have on the other side of the equation but  NUMBERS NERDS. 

This show at the New York Musicale Festival  overflows with positive vibrations from the singing and dancing.

But what is this thing about numbers?  

If you saw HIDDEN FIGURES, that success of a  film on women who despite obstacles through superior talent for math made a significant impact on the success of the space program, you might say, well it is important to get the math right.

NUMBERS NERDS takes that idea further — What numbers can mean in a life.  Each of the four high school girls has a love of math with a reasons for her pursuit  as individual as she is.  They are a math team determined to win but also at odds with each other.  How they work that problem out is how they add up together in teamwork.   

The opening number “This Is Gonna Be My Year” sums it up— This is going to be the year for NUMBERS NERDS!


THE CADAVER SYNOD: A POPE MUSICAL is a big story with a big team putting it together for  a rousing performance of what might well be the most live-ly  show of this year’s NY Musicale Festival.

If they had headlines in the ninth century, this would have been the  trial of the century story.  But they didn’t, and all we have is some snippets recorded in Wiki (which they didn’t have then either) as to what was the real story of these events of  897 A.D.

 Pope Stephen VII dug up the rotting corpse of his predecessor, Pope Formosus for a trial.  

The Roman clergy along with aristocracy of the Holy Roman Empire attended and after all these years (over a thousand plus) we still don’t know why Stephen ranted and raged at the rotting body, had  it dismembered and thrown in the Tiber River, where of course it preceded to wash up and perform miracles.

Until now, that is.  

Through the miracle of punk and pop the pope story emerges along with ecclesiastical rhythms of another time to tell what no body knows but which  Robbie Florian with book, music and lyrics has created  a likely story in THE CADAVER SYNOD: A POPE MUSICAL. 

David Larsen  sings and screams as Pope Stephen VII.  He also
displays  perfect silence  with timing at a dramatic moment —all of which shows his emotional range as an actor as well as his enormous energy and powerful voice for this lead role.

Forest VanDyke with his smooth seducing voice  is Pope Formosus.  Don’t ask how this is possible since he is the dead pope on trial—you have to bring a lot of faith to a musicale just like you do to church. 

Ethan Gabriel Riordan is the Teen Deacon who is chosen to
defend Pope Formosus, a formidable assignment for a deacon performed  by a singer with a formidable talent.

Kudos to directors Ryan Emmons for the large team that put this spectacle together.

The ensemble is energetic, singing and dancing with super choreography by Gina Duci  with orchestration and  musical team under  Dan Garmon’s  direction 

Adding to the belief of the unbelievable that is the magic illusion of place  are the scenic design by Nate Bertone,  lighting by Ryan Hauenstein,  sound by Matt Otto, projection design by Kevan Loney, and video and media design by .

Daryl A. Stone’s Costume Designs were most appropriate for being both popular and pope-y.

And who will ever forget Puppet designer Marte Johanne Ekhougen’s freak-a-listic cadaver of Pope Formoso! 


A young woman journalist -Raina—sets out to discover whether a celebrity guru Mama Sid is a fraud or the real thing.  This is her big chance for the big story!

Nancy Anderson is stellar as  Sid, the mysterious mystic. Samia Mounts as Raina is strong in her determination to uncover  the truth.  Together they unfold what is a story bigger than each of them. 

The excellent cast play multiple roles of “The Human Experience” in what follows the retelling of the classic story of the celebrity teacher of all time. Kudos to all:  Alan Gillespie (Sam/Delilah/Bread), Jacob Hoffman (Derekh/Yasha), Josh Powell (Mike/Sunny), Cali Elizabeth Moore (Harmony/Water), Terry Palasz (Clara/Hag), Faith Sandberg (Myra/May), Matt Hetherington (Andy). 

They keep the story —with “Sid’s Temptations”  with its mix of suspense and inspiration moving along to the inevitable punch line that : "The Truth Must Come Out.”  

  Sid —that’s short for Siddhārtha Gautama aka Buddha who lived in the  6th century BCE.   SPOILER ALERT!   Buddha left his wife who died and his small son.



Modern day tourists in a sacred spot in Puerto Rico find themselves enthralled in the history of  the place, once the home to Conquistadors who brutalized and extinguished the native people. 

Temple of the Souls is the backdrop for this retelling of the classic Romeo and Juliet  story.

We know from the beginning that  the end is going to be bloody but the journey to that is filled with lush melodies of the joys of love and delight in life.

Noellia Hernandez is enchanting as Amada, the daughter of a mixed blood. Lorraine Velez as Nana, her nurse/her father’s mistress/and her real life but unrecognized mother, gives a heart stopping performance. 

Danny Bolero is powerful as Don Severo who rules everyone Andres Quintero is strong as the native who wins Amada’s love.  Jacob Gutierrez as Nemesio, her cousin and intended spouse is quite dashing.  

The ensemble was exuberant in song and dance in what was a two hour no intermission production that flowed seamlessly through time.  

Temple of the Souls— truly a treasure that transcends time and place!