A new true musical comedy, THE ROAD TO QATAR, opened at The York Theater Company on Thursday, February 25, 2011. Lyricist Stephen Cole has fashioned a riotously silly book and David Krane has provided the stylish music for the often witty tale which follows their own real life adventures on a journey to the Middle East, when the pair were commission by the Emir of Qatar to write a larger-than-life-Broadway style musical called ASPIRE.
The self professed “short Jewish” writers find themselves traveling the globe from New York City, to Dubai, to Bratislava, to London and Qatar in a vain attempt to please the Emir, whose increasing demands become the downfall of ASPIRE. The campy story with over 15 original songs is an attempt to pay homage to the madcap Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “road” movies and boasts a fantastic cast of comic actors, who virtually lift the low budget vehicle to the heavens.
The gifted actors portraying the song writing team have wonderfully amusing chemistry and never fail to keep the uneven material afloat, but they are stuck in a whimsical tale that rarely rises above silly outlandish put downs and stereotypical generalities. Still with a keen eye on timing and Director Phillip George’s skill at getting the most out of every moment and then some, they keep us smiling throughout. They are James Beaman, who plays Michael (the stand-in for Stephen) and Keith Gerchak, a nerd with horn rimmed glasses, who plays Jeffrey (the Stand in for David). The two are supported by a sterling cast of three playing multiple roles. They are all exceptionally skilled comics and each is a stand out delivering zany inspirational work that is a laugh out loud riot. They are Bill Nolte, Bruce Warren, and Sarah Stiles and all I can say is bravo to this trio. Under Phillip George’s direction they light up the night.
The cast is supported by an excellent five piece orchestra, and if the evening never rises to the heights intended the 90-minute musical remains a campy send-up of days gone by. PChristiano
The York Theatre
619 Lexington Avenue (Corner of 54th Street)
1 212 935-5820