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Photo courtesy of Russ Rowland.
Photo courtesy of Russ Rowland.

If character development and story line were as rich as the music, For the Last Time would have all of the combined elements for  fine theater.  However, Will Pomerantz and Nancy Harrow’s musical, based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Gothic novel The Marble Faun, tends to be a bit muddy, dragging on a bit too long and lingering like ghosts that haunt the re-imagined 1950’s New Orleans setting itself.

Miriam (Brittany Campbell) is a carefree painter, eager to show her more reserved friend Hilda (Anita Welch) , the decadent ways of the world. Ladies’ man Kenyon (Carl Clemons-Hopkins) works his charm on Hilda, while Donatello (Britton Smith) displays his affections towards Miriam.   This is voodoo laced  New Orleans, however, so one can be sure that nothing on the surface is quite what it appears. Watching the action from afar is the “overseer” (Reggie D. White), a mysterious and dangerous man from Miriam’s past who looms over the Big Easy quartet like the Stay Puft Marshmallow man.

Photo courtesy of Russ Rowland.
Photo courtesy of Russ Rowland.

The performances are strong  and the cast capably navigates  the material it’s been given, but what really makes this show pop are the phenomenal sounds of musical director Cody Owen Stine’s band, bringing Nancy Harrow’s moody, wholly original and intelligent jazz score to life on John McDermott’s ambitious and effective French quarter style set.

For the Last Time is now playing on at the Clurman Theater on Theater Row (West 42nd between 9th and 10th) through June 20th.  For tickets and information, visit the box office or  http://www.forthelasttimemusical.com/