Broder played Mozart in the Broadway production of Amadeus, which provides a small window onto the vainglorious hysteria that Broder depicts here so brilliantly.He croons in musical styles from '20s Dixieland jazz through '30s swing, '40s big band and '50s scat -- and their accompanying lingo "cats," "chicks" and "gigs".In a glorious world-premiere production directed by Jeremy Aldridge for Hollywood's Sacred Fools Theater Company, Prima and Smith are re-created with accuracy and richness -- perhaps because the writers are also the leading players.
In New York, it was performed with four actors, but here, with the looser guidelines of the actors' union, Actors' Equity, director Lori Evans Taylor has hired 11 comedians for a what's designed as a kind of Victorian carnival with hints of the electronic age.
Matt Maenpaa's opulent set features a velvet red curtain, a precariously dangling chandelier and wooden crates and closets, through which the actors appear and retreat, as though we're in something between an attic and the backstage area of Barnum and Bailey's tent.
As in past years, the trick is to limit his costume Ann Closs-Farley and set Jason Adams designers to use only what they can scrounge from the titular discount chain for Roht's decidedly silly burlesques of Radio City-style, holiday musical spectaculars.
It almost makes one overlook Roht's failure to gird his polished production numbers with the narrative spine of a coherent book.
Pat Towne and Michael Franco's world premiere staging of Zappa's narrative album crackles with outrage and grief masked by a leer Jennifer Lettelleir choreographs plenty of sex, but like Robert Crumb's comics, it's more repellent than titillating.
Musical director Ross Wright and the seven piece band help the snappy ensemble animize Zappa's eclectic sound which ranges from dissonant juggernauts to deceptively sweet ditties.
Why this guy is jumping around so much becomes the musical's central question.
The answer to that question could come with dismissing Prima as a narcissistic clown, The creators, however, treat their subject with far more compassion than that, as Prima's plight approaches tragedy.
Prima had a more gruff sound than that depicted by Broder, whose sculpted, jazzy tones more closely resemble Bobby Darin's.