Written by Brett Roelofs
Planet Connections Theatre Festivity
107 Suffolk Street, NYC
Review by Alexa Garcia
Children don’t forget, so what does a little boy do when he is scared and all he knows has been taken away? On the day Johnny turned 8, his mother had dropped him off at a Brooklyn Orphanage saying “This is summer camp! I’ll be back to get you in the fall,” and never returned. Now after experiencing trauma and growing up into a young man, Johnny must learn to trust, to love, and to be loved… again.
The Birthday Boy is a musical presented by The KBO Theater Company. The book, Lyrics and Music is by Brett Roelofs and Jack Donahue who worked on the book and lyrics as well. The production is directed by Angie Kristic. The production features actors with expert voices, including Tom Kalnas/Matthew Riordan (Johnny Rogers), Rob Tendy (Tony Belladonna),Christina Dewar (Marie), Dana Block (Sister Mary), Leigh Ann West (Miss Bennett), David Brickman (Edward Banewort), Tobias Arizio (Father Harry), Jason Nadal (Bill/policeman), Jacob Stein (Doug), Emmett Cahill (Phil), and Joy Tamayo (lady on Boardwalk). Out of all these performers I found the best was Rob Tendy. He managed to command the stage each time he stepped on it. His acting wasn’t awkward or forced instead it seemed like his jokester and goofy persona was actually his real-life personality.
I do love musicals, but this one wasn’t my cup of tea. While many good moments surfaced, there were more misses than hits. The duet between Matthew Riordan and Christina Dewar wasn’t exactly a perfect match. Joy Tamayo’s voice also did not thrill.
In the end though, this production supplied many life-lessons and gave the audience much to think about.