During the second act of The Johnny, the man in front of me heaved a despairing sigh. He then giggled hysterically — or was that me projecting? This musical that wonders what happens to the golden-boy high school athlete after he's bested by the nerdy guy drags the audience through two hours of tedium.
David L. Williams' book and lyrics and David F.M. Vaughn's music are dumb and dull. There are glimpses of a kind of smart stupidity worth developing: A character asks, "What's gay?," and when it's explained, says, "No, it's not that. It must be love." But too many jokes imitate rather than satirize dumb high school movies: The moral is that being yourself matters more than winning.
Derek Krantz as the title character looks right but can't sing, Rori Nogee as nerdy Lanie has a lovely voice, and Jennifer Margulis as tap-dancing Ruby projects winsome appeal.
Presented by Awesome Junior Productions as part of the New York International Fringe Festival
at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, 3 Spruce St., NYC.
Aug. 10-23. Remaining performances: Thu., Aug. 14, 7:15 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 16, 2 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 17, 9 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 23, 7 p.m.
(212) 279-4488 or (866) 468-7619 or www.fringenyc.org.