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Off-Off-Broadway Review

Fantasy Football: The Musical?

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New York Giants fans, Hooters patrons, and fantasy football traders, you now have a musical written specially for you. Writer David Ingber knows you never thought it would happen. As one of his characters notes, "Even if you're hetero/Your lives will get better-o./Straight guys like live performances, too!"

This "bromantic comedy" exceeds the low expectations reflected in Ingber's choice of punctuation in the title. Working knowledge of football—fantasy or real—is not strictly necessary, though it would be helpful, as the rest of us are left a bit in the dark on some of the jokes.
 
The cast includes "Amazing Race" winner Nick Spangler, Emily McNamara (the recent Off-Broadway show "Dial N for Negress"), "Forbidden Broadway" alum Christine Pedi, and performer and NYU adjunct professor Ben Steinfeld. Steinfeld, as main character Matthew Berry, takes well to the spotlight, singing with earnestness and humor of Matthew's ambition to be an ESPN sportscaster. Patrick Benedict, who plays Skip, Matthew's geeky younger brother, shines in his rap solos about '90s technology and an Internet girlfriend. His musical talent and spot-on delivery of lines like "Why don't you take your hick ass back to Applebee's while I drop more knowledge than the Snapple cap?" make his supporting character one you want to hear far more from.
 
While the show is clever and draws a number of laughs, it is fiercely "bromosexual." This could be fine—and does add a level of insight for those not versed in relationships among heterosexual male sports fans—but it goes a bit too far. With assertions like "She's like this hot chick-dude…. You can't be a girl who likes sports. It's like being a guy who collects scented soaps," the show comes off as more anti-women than pro–straight men. "No girl replaces bromosexuality," Jeff Nathan's Stoner states. But it's not until far later in the show that one would even want to get into the middle of such a love affair.
 
This 90-minute, one-act musical showcases some excellent talent and original writing and scores genuine laughter. "Everyone needs a fantasy once in a while," the cast sings, and the New York Musical Theatre Festival brings David Ingber's to life along with some fun.
 

Presented by Kristin Johnson Productions as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival at TBG Theater, 312 W. 36th St., 3rd floor, NYC. Oct. 1–8. Remaining performances: Thu., Oct. 8, 8 and 11 p.m. (866) 811-4111 or www.nymf.org. Casting by Michael Cassara.

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