Reviewed by Audrey Weinbrecht
Overture the Musical is the official Grand Jury selection of the 2019 New York Musical Festival. It premiered in July 2018 at the Kansas City Fringe Festival where it was one of the highest attended productions. It had its first full production at Kansas City’s The Arts Asylum in September 2018.
Overture is based on the true story of a local community banding together to save the Kansas City Philharmonic in 1953. Against this backdrop is the love story between Christopher, an assistant conductor frustrated by his stagnant career, and Lily, an enthusiastic sales rep for the Philharmonic. As the staff members of the Philharmonic struggle to make ends meet, Lily and Christopher grow closer. Yet their relationship is hampered by Lily’s heartbreaking secret. Can the Philharmonic and Lily and Christopher’s love survive?
This show is a love letter to music and the people who devote their lives to creating and supporting art in their communities. It’s also about letting go of the past to pursue a brighter future. Heartwarming with dashes of humor which prevent it from becoming saccharine, this is the perfect show for music and musical lovers.
The score is a light blend of traditional musical theater with touches of pop and samples of the classical music pieces that inspire the characters. I imagine it would be even better with a full orchestra. The book is tightly scripted with lighthearted fun and poignancy.
The cast, most of whom were part of the original Kansas City production, is excellent. Krista Eyler, the lyricist, composer and co-book writer also stars as Lily. Eyler is charming and soulful in her role, providing the emotional anchor for the show. Kay Noonan as Lily’s supervisor Inda Mae Beasley provides most of the comic relief with a playful wit.
This is a fun night at the theater, sure to leave audiences with a smile on their faces (and maybe a few tears).
Overture runs through July 28th at the Signature Theatre, 480 West 42nd Street. Tickets can be purchased at www.nymf.org