THE STOPS at NCTC “It ain’t necessarily so!”

(l to r) David Bicha (as Ginny), Cameron Cummings (as Euglena) and Jonathan Reisfeld (as Rose)

THE STOPS: Musical Comedy. Music and Lyrics by Eric Lane Barnes, Book by Eric Lane Barnes and Drew Emery. Directed by F. Allen Sawyer. Musical Direction by G. Scott Lacy. Choreography by Stephanie Temple. The New Conservatory Theatre Center(Walker Theatre), located at 25 Van Ness Ave. near Market St. in San Francisco, 94102 . 415-861-8972 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 415-861-8972 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or online at May 20 – June 25, 2011.

THE STOPS at NCTC “It ain’t necessarily so!”

Strange things are happening on the Walker Theatre venue at the New Conservatory. Three fine drag queens (David Bicha, Cameron Cummings and Jonathan Reisfeld) are sharing the stage with a small church organ with canned music accompanying the trio in a rather unbelievable musical comedy. It brings to mind the song “It ain’t necessarily so!” from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Especially in the second act where the divergent characters (our ladies) quote the bible to prove their beliefs that emphasizes “The things that you’re libel to read in the Bible, it ain’t necessarily so.”

You may wonder how the musical got to the juncture of using passages from the bible? It just happens that in this musical fable a trio organist from NALOG (North American Lady Organists Guild) have banded together to tour the Quad City Triangle (the author must have had the Bermuda Triangle in mind) in support of their music teacher Dale Meadows. Poor Dale has been outed and fired for being gay. The ladies in their opening number tell us how the got the name of “The Stops” and it makes perfect sense. You know, it refers to the stops found on organs?

Euglena Belcher (Cameron Cummings) is a rigid goody-goody-two shoes Nazarene, Ginny (David Bicha) is a Baptist “work in progress” who likes the taste of liquor and Rose Rabinowitz (Jonathan Reisfeld) is a Jew separated from her Unitarian husband. They have come to the NCTC in San Francisco to gain support for poor Dale. One of the first songs they sing is a hilarious “At the Pot Luck” with tricky clever rhyming lyrics.

The music is derivative but the lyrics are quite original with titles:” Its Raining in Hell”, “A Bossa Nova for Jehovah”, “Hallelujah Aloha”, “The Fundamental” etc. They do get a bit raunchy at times. Consider “Tulips on your Organ.” Two lips, get it? Two of my favorites are “Face Lift for Ecclesiastic Surgery” and “Nota Bene.”

The boys do a fine job of singing and acting with special award to Cameron Cummings who plays it straight (meaning he stays in character). Their accapella numbers could useadjusting. David Bicha as the Baptist who has partially lost his way has the best chance to camp it up and does so with flare. Jonathan Reisfeld fits his role of Rose like a glove and he, as Rose, gets the better of Euglena in his singing verbal altercations. Even though the dancing energetic it is pedestrian prancing. There is a bit of audience participation that gets a good laugh.

All in all, the evening is a pleasant one. Kuo-Haolo’s set is extremely attractive and the costumes (Jorge R. Hernandez) well designed. Running time about 100 minutes with an intermission.

Kedar K. Adour, MD

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