Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Trouble With Words

I don’t normally blog about other people’s art, but I have to shout about a event that no Los Angeles theater lover should miss.  It’s the Coeurage Theater Company’s production of Gregory Nabours’ “The Trouble With Words”.  If neither of those sound familiar, you are really missing out, so read on.
 The Coeurage Theater Company has been around for over three years, surviving as L.A.’s only “pay what you want theater”.  They, under the formidable guidance of Artistic Director Jeremy Lelliot, believe no one should be denied a chance to see theater just because they’re short a few bucks.  It’s a beautiful, lofty goal and Coeurage has managed to stay true to that goal while keeping its doors open and continuing to bring great theater to the town.   Case in point:  in their new space at the Lost Studio Theatre, they are presenting a brand new, no-holds-barred production of Gregory Nabours’ Ovation Award winning song cycle “The Trouble With Words”, complete with live musicians, dancing and songs that will be sung in cabaret acts across the country in no time.

 “The Trouble With Words” is a musical catalogue of the ways we use speech and vocabulary to hide or reveal our feelings and thoughts:  how the words we choose to use or not use can calm or confuse, harm or amuse, render or fuse.  Mr. Nabours’ songs are jam-packed with wit, whimsy and wonder, echoing Jason Robert Brown and Stephen Schwartz to great effect.  The Haircut is a hilarious lesson in male versus female communication styles while Complimentary Brunch shows how a man is not even needed for tension as two ladies use words as weapons in the best musical cat fight in years.  Men get their due in Pick Up Lines as two Lotharios battle for the best use of verbal seduction which ends in an ironic and funny tie. Then, The Ballerina’s Lament shows that, sometimes, vulgarity really does provide the best word choice.   

But don’t be fooled that this is a mere intellectual exercise in and about words.   Mr. Neighbors is a master tunesmith and when emotion is the focus, his melodies soar with the kind of lyricism that sends chills up your spine.  All That’s In Between, Raincloud and Before The Fall all prove to be the kind of songs that you want to capture in your hands somehow and let them fill your heart up. And that, ultimately, is what great musical theater should do.

Kudos to the multi-talented cast and musicians…and to the courageous crew of the Coeurage Theater Company.  As their name suggests, they provide great theatre…with heart.

Coeurage Theater Company - Lost Studio Theatre - 130 S La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036  ~ @Coeurage

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