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Off-Off-Broadway Review

Lorenzo

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As the title of one of its songs states, "Lorenzo: The Man Who Wrote Mozart" attempts to provide "Plenty for Everyone," but this musical about the composer's librettist turns out to be too much for anyone. With music by Judd Woldin, lyrics by Richard Engquist, and a book by both, it's set on the stage of a theater under construction and structured as an opera-within-a-musical. But the sparse transitions between these two styles fail to fulfill this meta-trajectory.

Under the direction of Christopher Scott, the saga of Lorenzo DaPonte—cocky womanizer and librettist extraordinaire—is strong enough without the trite premise. But the complicated chronology paired with onstage busyness causes confusion.
 
Peter Reardon's performance in the title role neglects the distinction between the young, impressionable Jewish boy and the promiscuous adult. Reardon does convince as the libidinous mature Lorenzo but fails to put across his creativity. In contrast, Carl Wallnau plays distinct characters of varying ages with specificity and humorous punch. Trisha Rapier, who plays Anna Grahl, a love interest of Lorenzo and later his wife, displays vocal maturity and prowess. Wielding her voice like a finely engineered tool, Rapier engages with a charming rendition of "Wonderful" and the poignant plea "All I Need Is Him."
 
While the connection between Lorenzo and Anna seems forced at first, the entire production takes a turn for the better with Rapier and Reardon's duet "Nothing in Common." The song develops their relationship, melding the voices of its singers in a way that had been lacking. From this point on, the score feels organic rather than plopped into the plot, the characters become genuine, and the story flows.
 
Though "Lorenzo" isn't quite a catastrophe on the scale of the disastrous "Don Giovanni" depicted in the show, it's not the work of a breathtaking genius like Mozart either.
 

Presented by Maximus Productions as part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival at the Acorn Theatre, 410 W. 42nd St., NYC. Oct. 7–11. Remaining performances: Sat., Oct. 10, 1 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 11, 1 p.m. (212) 967-7079 or (212) 352-3101 or www.nymf.org.

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