Henry Aronson doesn’t yet have the same theatrical name recognition as composers Jason Robert Brown, Stephen Sondheim, or Tom Kitt. “Yet” is the operative word here since Aronson’s wholly original score for a loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost is a much needed and welcome addition to the contemporary musical theater genre.
Boomerang Theatre Company’s Loveless, Texas, is a fluffy and fun spin on the Bard’s tale about a ramblin’ playboy, Berowne Loveless Navarre (Joe Joseph) and his merry misfit of men who swear a vow of chastity for…gulp…three years! In addition, they aren’t allowed to drink or cavort. The rules are initiated by Berowne’s brother, King Ferdinand (Darren Ritchie) who offers them jobs as ranch hands if they obey his command.
If they adhered to his directives, it would be an awfully dull story and fortunately, they don’t. True to form in a Shakespearean comedy, identities are mismatched, frolic ensues, and love is found.
Caitlin Heffernan’s book keeps the action movin’ along at a brisk clip. Heffernan, who also directed, seems to mesh nicely with Aronson’s style. At 2 hrs and 40 minutes however, the story could use a small bit of trimming. Pleasant, but slow ballads tend to bog down the action near the end.
Still, this cast is superb and delivers good ‘ole fashioned country twang with energy and authenticity. Cheryl McCarron’s depression era costumes are smartly designed and appropriate and Evan Hill has created a viable Western town within the Sheen Center’s sleek and transformable theater space.
Boomerang Theater Company’s Loveless, Texas runs through Sunday September 24th at The Sheen Center (18 Bleecker Street). For tickets and information, click here.