The worst thing about an apparently satisfying marriage is that divorce could abruptly bring it to an end. The best thing about an obviously dissatisfying show on the topic of divorce is that it does end-although not soon enough in the 90 minute, terribly unfunny Til Divorce Do Us Part, a new off-Broadway musical at Union Square’s DR2 Theatre.
Ruthe Ponturo, creator and lyricist, wrote this show after being dumped by her Broadway producer husband. Her chutzpah for self-respect and reinvention is inspiring. Her lyrics, along with the elementary music, are not. “Better Mad than Sad” opens the show as a sort of “screw you” to the ex. After 85 more minutes of bland, inane humor, we are forced to sit through a reprise-only this time with a minor tweak: “Better Glad Than Mad.” My advice: better run away than pay.
The revue style premise features three gifted singers, Erin Maguire (Kate), Gretchen Wylder (Audrey) and Dana Wilson (Suzy). Each of their songs are introduced by music director John Thomas Fischer (who also composed the flimsy score). Fischer serves as an advice columnist under the pseudonym “Dottie.” Why Dottie? The writer’s aunt was named Dottie and he inherited the column when she passed away. This was an actual joke in the show. You’ll muddle through more cutesy, lame jokes and songs including, “If Only You Were Gay”, which suggests that a divorce would be less painful if the husband turned out to be gay because “at least we could be best friends.” Right around that time I checked my watch and estimated my steps to the nearest exit.
Jilted love can be fodder for delicious musical theatre vengeance. One need to look no further than classics including “Cell Block Tango” from Chicago, “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” from South Pacific, or “I Hate Men” from Kiss Me, Kate. Even the more contemporary I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change offered crafty insight into broken love. Til Divorce Do Us Part has none of the caustic wit that any of these previously mentioned shows possess. What it does have is an offensively gaudy pink set adorned with conversation hearts and a mindless string of vapid comedy. By the time the curtain closed, my broken heart yearned only for this talented cast. I hope that their relationships with future stage endeavors are more fulfilling and substantial than this ill-fated romance. Aside from all of this, it’s wonderful!
Til Divorce Do Us Part now playing at DR2 Theatre (103 E. 15th street). For tickets call (212) 239-6200 visit Telecharge.com or go to the box office.