NYMF Review #2: Jay Alan Zimmerman's Incredibly Deaf Musical

There are very few musicals out there like Jay Alan Zimmerman's Incredibly Deaf Musical and that is an unfortunate shame, because I can't imagine out there asking for their musicals to be less inspiring, or to have less heart.  Zimmerman has put his entire life into this musical, literally, and what he brings us is his true story of a composer slowly going deaf, trying to grasp onto his songwriting dreams while losing one of his most important tools. 

The story jumps between three versions of himself: a small child just falling in love with the piano, a young adult just finding the beginnings of success in Manhattan, and a post-9/11 modern day father seeking his place in a world where his passion and his disability fight it out.  And while a story about someone finding purpose going deaf is bound to be inspiring, Zimmerman hasn't simply thrown this musical into the standard mold where an audience member will just see how great their life is in comparison to hardships of others.  Instead, he alternates the difficulties of his life with some often-funny numbers, including an instant classic, "Talkin' Dirty", a number that details what a deaf-but-perverted man is likely to mishear when the real words other people say don't reach his ears.

The one bit I'd like to see improved in the show's future is the bits centered around the "young adult" Jay.  At 2 hours 20 minutes, the show can use some slight culling.  And the 20 minutes or so that can probably go is the story about the young composer moving to NYC and falling in love; it isn't bad, but I keep wanting to go back to the more inspiring "present day" stuff.

Zimmerman's Musical unfortunately played its last NYMF performance yesterday when I saw it.  I hope the show gets a future life because to me it is a musical that should be seen, particularly by those who have dreams of creating art.  In the recent lifeless Chorus Line revival, I never found the "what would you do if you couldn't dance" bit particularly meaningful to me as a writer, but this show spoke to me in ways Chorus Line simply didn't.



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