An aspiring nebbish of a songwriter (Brance Cornelius) and an honest-to-goodness witch (Lauren Hoffmeier) find themselves entangled in a "Romeo and Juliet"–like romance in book writer–conceiver D'Jamin Bartlett and composer-lyricist Mark Bornfield's "MisSpelled," a sort of "Bewitched" for the borscht belt.
If the show's hoary jokes (the devil bemoans the sacrifice of a chicken, exclaiming he'd rather have had pastrami) don't set our teeth on edge, then the hokey numbers ("Welcome to Sadie's Seder/It's homemade; I never cater") and rambling book—which also contains tired gags about Hollywood, once the girl's dad (Louis Silvers) has gotten the tunesmith a gig there—will.
The uninspired quality of the material is only underscored by the performances, which range from grandiosely overblown to simply underrehearsed. In fact, this less-than-magical evening even features one performer—Paul Craffey, playing a conniving warlock—who appears to be reading his lines from sides on a clipboard.
Presented by Borkenstein Productions, in association with Actors' Equity Association, as part of the New York International Fringe Festival at the Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce St., NYC. Aug. 11–26. Remaining performances: Sat., Aug. 18, 8 p.m.; Tue., Aug. 21, 5:15 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 25, 2:15 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 26, 3:15 p.m. (866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.