NYMF 2011 Review #2: Kissless

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                          JOCKS
    We hate you goths!

                          GOTHS
    And we hate you equally, jocks!

                          REDNECKS
    And as for you nerds, we hate you, just as you hate us 
    back!

                          NERDS
    Since when did nerds and rednecks become mortal 
    enemies?

                          REDNECKS
    Since when this musical was written in Texas, where 
    Nerd-Redneck feuds are common knowledge.

                          NERDS
    Why is Texas always like The Middle Child?
Kissless is the kind of show you hate to dislike.  It is staged with a very young energetic cast that pours every ounce they have into the piece that they flew from Texas to perform.  You can see the effort onstage as they try their hardest to win you over, and leads Tyler Galindo and Teresa Zimmerman are particular talents to keep an eye on.  So it's such a shame that Kissless is such a mess.

Your plot, folks: Derek's family takes in their neighbor Summer for the (wait for it) summer, but this causes social issues because Derek is a Jock and Summer is a Goth.  But their friendship blossoms into something more. 

What I've left out here is all sorts of oddities that just make the musical just plain weird.  Derek's father is needlessly dead-set on Derek not dating non-jocks.  Summer's father died two summers ago, and this summer Summer has a psychiatrist who may have watched too many Jeff Hiller performances.  On two separate occasions a random Redneck and a Nerd hook up, which is blasphemous for some reason.  People play regular video games but call them MMORPGs, which should bother the Nerds in the show because it annoyed me.  And it all ends in a plot to throw poop on someone before someone dies out of nowhere, leading the show to end depressingly.

The book is loose and chock-full of jokes that awkwardly don't land, many of which seem to rely on laughs because, say, the word Facebook was mentioned.  The lyrics are serviceable, but occasionally decide not to rhyme at all in random lines.  The music was occasionally catchy, but the use of tracks over a live band didn't seem to do it justice so I think it's unfair to judge it.  I understand that live musicians are pricey, but with a cast of over two dozen including the chorus, four clearly could have been traded for a rock band.

Yet at the center of it all is a cute nugget of a story about two modern teenagers from opposing social circles trying to understand how to fall in love.  And there's just enough different with it--she's a goth, she lost a parent, this is a musical--that makes it different than jock-loves-nerd films from the late-90s.  Sadly, this successful part of the musical takes up maybe 1/4th of the intermission-full stagetime.  

If show could jettison the Nerd and Redneck choruses entirely and focus deeper on the  primary love story, it could go from a thin-stretched 1:45 to being a cute 70-minute show that might get some life in high schools.  But hopefully the writer Chance McClain (who wrote this!) will be able to parlay his good intentions into some more very hard work, because Kissless needs a whole lot of it.

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[B] ----- An Liu borrowed more than a promise of a teacher works [B] ----- you write try to use up the ink could not finish the paper ----- ;---[/ B] -
------ - [/ B] -
-------- directly on the screen with the mouse calligraphy -

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