The marketing campaign for Disaster! The Musical effectively showcases its dense Broadway talent. Adam Pascal (Chad), Roger Bart (Tony), Kerry Butler (Marianne), Faith Prince (Shirley), Kevin Chamberlain (Maury), Rachel York (Jackie), and of course, Mr. Broadway himself, the creator of this whole amusing mishegas, Seth Rudetstky (Professor Ted Scheider). Each of them have their moments to shine in this send up on disaster movies of the 1970s. But, there is one secret weapon at the Nederlander Theater that goes by the name Jennifer Simard. It is safe to assume, after watching this comedic genius tear up the stage as a gambling addicted nun that Simard will soon take her place alongside her venerable cohorts.
The plot revolves around Tony, the sleazebag owner of a floating casino who, in spite of nearby earthquake warnings from Ted and Marianne, assures that everything will be alright. What are the two naysayers to do? Climb aboard the boat, of course, and join the inevitable destruction that awaits. In addition to earthquake, a tidal wave smacks the vessel, unleashing hell’s fury for everyone on board. In the meantime, cotton brained lounge singer Jackie attempts to woo Tony. She’s also the mother of a boy and girl twin, cleverly played by one young actor Baylee Littrell. Shirley and Maury add even more kitsch to the mix (if that is even possible) as a long-wedded couple doomed to flotation devices, but not before Chad screams his lungs out in song to Marianne. Oh- and did I mention that Levora (Lacretta Nicole), a disco diva, is also on board. Because…why not?!!?
Mostly, this all boils down to a slick musical parody of The Poseidon Adventure and it mostly succeeds, thanks to the first rate cast and sharp writing from Rudetsky and Jack Plotnick. Yet Plotnick (who also appears and directs) could tighten it up just a tad. The chockablock songs from the disco era are all here but, like taking too much from the buffet, you’ll feel overfull by the end.
If you’re looking for a meaningful, heartfelt show that will inspire and move you to tears, Disaster isn’t it. The only tears you’ll shed will be those of laughter from this blissful night of escapism.
Disaster is now playing at the Nederlander Theater (W. 41st between 7th and 8th) through July 3rd. . For tickets and information, visit the box office or go to: http://www.disastermusical.com/