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I read the play Lysistrata during my sophomore year of college (one of the only classical plays I actually read, and liked) and I was excited when I heard Transport Group was bringing this new updated musical version titles Lysistrata Jones to a Greenwich Village church basement gym. Set at Athens University, the basketball team hasn’t won a game in 30 years and a new transfer to the school, Lysistrata, gets the teams girlfriends to agree to withhold sex until they actually try and win a game. A friend of mine was covering opening night this past Sunday and invited me to come along.
The score (by Lewis Flinn) is reminiscent of Legally Blonde, in a good way, and the book (by Douglas Carter Beane) is thorough and good. The choreography (mixed with class basketball moves, by Dan Knechtges) is thrilling, maybe even breathtaking, to watch as it’s incredibly complex and probably one of my favorite parts. The sets (by Allen Moyer) are versatile, moving all the time.
The cast is almost entirely unknown (they had to find actors who could also play basketball - not an easy feat!). Patti Murin plays Lysistrata Jones and is perky, energetic, moves easily, and she has a great voice. The other stand-out in the cast was Jason Tam as Xander, the typical college nerd who may fall for our protagonist. He has a great voice and is an excellent actor.
In attendance that night were the likes of Barbara Walsch, Jackie Hoffman, Adam Chandler Berat, Bryan Batt, and Charles Busch (not in drag!). The gym was transformed and looked quite similar to a high school dance after where kegs of beer, soda, and pizza were served.
The cake was REALLY sweet.
The cast & creative:
Beane and Flinn celebrating their incredibly well received opening night!
I really enjoyed the show and I was happy to see the following morning that they received across the board positive reviews. Lysistrata Jones may not be deep, but it certainly is fun, and well-written, which is more than you can say for a lot of what’s new in New York this season.
Lysistrata Jones is playing downtown at the Gym at Judson through June 19th. Visit Transport Group’s website for more information.