Reviewed by Cindy Pierre
Rick Merino's Inferno: The New Rock Musical sets the first part of Dante's Divine Comedy to a rocking, well-executed soundtrack. But don’t let Carol Wlazlowski’s Halloween costumes confuse you; this is a themed concert, not a musical. There’s no book, just a succession of edgy, appropriately dark songs, each covering part of Dante (Rick Merino) and Virgil's (Sean Jans) journey through the nine circles of Hell. (If you happen to get lost in the “songtelling,” the program doubles as a guide.) There’s no acting, either: the cast doesn't differentiate between the characters that they embody; all the notes and tones from each actor sound the same no matter how many figures they play. No need to abandon hope, though: you can watch the five-piece band that’s spread through the theater, and you can enjoy the vocals, particularly those of Karen Lauber and Buzz Cartier. You'll never get bored, and you might even chuckle at Leslie Segan's limited antics. Being able to hear the 3-count intro to each song may get tiresome,but the intimate space will make you feel like a lucky fan attending a private show.
Inferno: The New Rock Musical (Running time: 90 minutes)
Dixon Place (161A Chrytie Street between Rivington and Delancey Streets)
Tickets: $15. www.fringenyc.org
According to Lincoln Center's new LCT3 project at its slogan, it takes "New Audiences for New Artists." It also takes new critics, hence the establishment of Theater Talk's New Theater Corps in 2005, a way for up-and-coming theater writers and eager new theatergoers to get exposure to the ever-growing theater scene in New York City. Writers for the New Theater Corps are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the off-off and off-Broadway theater scene, learning and giving back high-quality reviews at the same time. Driven by a passion and love of the arts, the New Theater Corps aims to identify, support, and grow the arts community, one show and one person at a time.