The Lights of Broadway and the Glint of a Sword: BROADWAY BOUNTY HUNTER Dazzles Either Way- Kristen Morale.
I wonder how many actors ever thought of transferring their skills over to bounty hunting: using their status as a triple threat to qualify for a spot among those who rely on pure instinct to get the job done. In that sense, an actor becoming a bounty hunter is a rather interesting contradiction…so naturally, this conundrum would make for one hell of a show. In the midst of a search for the next fresh and funny frenzy of an idea to hit the stage, along comes Broadway Bounty Hunter, a show that is literally kicking ass at the Greenwich House Theater. As actress Annie Golden discovers her knack for finding wanted fugitives, so, too, does the audience discover the excitement in watching a group of bounty hunters harmonize their efforts to bring forth justice. With a rather unorthodox new recruitee under their wing, though, they certainly have their work cut out for them.
With music and lyrics by Tony Award nominee Joe Iconis, book by Iconis, Lance Rubin and Jason SweetTooth Williams and directed/choreographed by Jennifer Werner, Broadway Bounty Hunter celebrates its New York premiere in the heart of the West Village after a sold-out run at Barrington Stage Company. The follow-up to Broadway’s Be More Chill, Bounty Hunter is an hilarious, one-of-a-kind production that features both a cast and crew that easily harness the magic needed to create a successful show. Bringing together a group of characters who rely on their comical nuances to form a family (despite the cruel nature of their work), the star in the show becomes a bounty hunter without losing one ounce of her shine.
Proving that an actress and trained hunter keep their eye on the prize with the same fierce determination, this production prides itself on the ability to not only create a plot that seems a little farfetched, but doing it so well that the continuous laughs and a lighthearted, villain-THINKS-he-is-going-to-win mentality just puts the audience in just the right state of mind. There’s nothing too pressing in one’s life that can penetrate the feel-good nature of “Broadway Bounty Hunter” – in fact, and as experienced by our heroine Annie Golden, it serves as inspiration to put aside what you thought was important and focus on something even greater than we could ever have imagined: a life lesson in love, confidence and belief that there are some really great shows out there.
Broadway Bounty Hunter follows actress Annie Holden (starring as herself) as she receives an unexpected visit from two people that say she is destined to become a bounty hunter. A woman radiating with the charisma and talent of an actress, she hardly seems the bounty hunter type. Yet, she arrives at Shiro jin’s dojo with little idea of what she is doing as the new recruit at the city’s only female-run bounty hunting agency. There, she meets an intriguing group of people who try their hardest to portray their baddest of selves: Sienna, Indigo, Spark Plug, Felipe and Claudine Machine – all whom are equally confused as to why this woman is there. In walks Lazarus, leader of the pack with enough swag to captivate the team with his anticipated return from a solo trip – his usual method of hunting.
Assigned Annie as a partner, Lazarus begrudgingly takes her in his ’sweet ride” towards their next destination: South America. There, they must find Mac Roundtree, a wanted drug pusher who once targeted young Broadway actors by giving them performance-enhancing drugs…and plans on doing it again. What isn’t to love about higher notes and non-stop dancing at the cost of a possible overdose? So on they go, getting on each other’s nerves until it is revealed why Shiro needed Annie all along…even our heroine can’t feign her surprise, and she can do almost anything.
This production is nothing short of amazing – from second chances to triple threats and everything in between, this show has something that everyone in the audience is bound to love; this even holds true for the actors, who make being involved look so damn fun. No matter which way you look at it or which aspect of the show appeals to you most, everything about “Broadway Bounty Hunter” is quite the success; it’s an undeniably perfect mix of that which makes a show spectacular. Its humor is as lighthearted as a show about trained hunters can have. When Annie joins this gang of bounty hunter after lamenting over her dead husband Charlie for the last ten years, she throws both herself and those around her into a phase of self reflection. A woman who loves her profession and really can’t imagine herself pursuing another is suddenly given reason to – to start her life over as the peppy “white woman” at Lazarus’ side.
A story that is as inspiring as it is comical, this cooky bunch of characters live in a world where everyone is given a chance to be someone, regardless of how ill prepared or well thought out the plan. It is a place where even the most novice of fighters can save the day, where it’s just always a feel-good day because of how much potential there exists by just being yourself in a rather screwy world. What Broadway Bounty Hunter gives to its audiences is not only an hilarious, very well endowed production, but one that makes us stop and wonder why there aren’t more shows like this.
Kudos to the wonderful cast and crew that make this show possible. Annie Golden, Alan H. Green, Brad Oscar (who I thought was Billy Joel for a second), Emily Borromeo, Badia Farha, Jasmine Forsberg (who’s still in college!), Omar Garibay (who also serves as Dance Captain), Jared Joseph and Christina Sajous round out an immensely talented cast that literally does it all…and that’s before they’re all addicted to “Fierce” towards the plays end. Between their actor and sweet dance moves, they are all quite the triple-threated force to be reckoned with. Fight Captain Ian Coulter-Buford also lends his talent to create some wicked cool battle scenes. Joining them above stage are Geoffrey Ko on keyboard 1, Zac Zinger on sax/woodwinds/keyboard I, Khrys Williams on trumpet/flugabone, Megan Talay on guitar, Amanda Ruzza on bass and Rosa Avila on drums.
Joining them behind the scenes are Scenic Designer Michael Schweikardt, Costume Designer Sarafina Bush, Sound Designer Cody Spencer, Lighting Designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhower, Projection and Video Designer Brad Peterson and Production Stage Manager E. Sara Barnes. Guys, everything on that stage looked great.
Broadway Bounty Hunter began performances at the Greenwich House Theater (located at 27 Barrow Street) on July 9th, with an official opening night of Tuesday, July 23rd; the show will run thru September 15th. Directed by Jennifer Werner and produced by Jennifer Ashley Tepper and Allison Bressi, tickets are available by visiting www.broadwaybountyhunter.com. There, you can also find the performance schedule and learn everything about the show. Believe that this show is worth your while.
Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy