It Happened in Key West, 5 Stars

It Happened in Key West
Charing Cross Theatre
4th July to 22nd Sept 2018

“It Happened in Key West is inspired by shocking true events that rocked the tiny island of Key West in the 1930s. After decades of searching for his dream girl, eccentric scientist Carl finally finds Elena, only to lose the young beauty to the fatal disease of tuberculosis. But for Carl, the eternal optimist, death is only the beginning. He steals Elena’s body from the graveyard and takes her home, embarking on the most ambitious “fixer upper” project in history as he tries to bring his beloved back to life…

Funny, shocking and deeply moving, this new American musical will make you re-examine what you believe about the nature of love, loyalty and commitment (either to a person or an asylum!).

It Happened in Key West, with Book, Music and Lyrics By Jill Santoriello, Book and Additional Lyrics by Jason Huza, Book and Original Concept by Jeremiah James, will be directed and choreographed by Marc Robin, who has staged almost 400 productions across the US,
earning multiple awards and nominations.”

Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars

Based on a true story this has got to be the quirkiest funniest musical comedy you’ll see in 2018. Feeling like a fairytale romantic comedy there’s a macabre under-current which is very funny. The strength in Marc Robin‘s expert direction is that this production doesn’t try to take itself too seriously – the dark shines through, there is an emotional tug for the characters, all polished off with a good dose of humour. Everything about this production is really good! The story, the script, the set, the lighting, the costumes, the sound, the blocking, the pace…..the 7 year production process clearly never ran out of steam!

Lighting by the Production Designer Jamie Roderick adds kicks off the right mood and you can see what you’re supposed to – always a plus! With multiple blocks that can be wheeled and built into multi-levels it only takes the right accessory set piece to change the space into a hospital or a garden.

The rear projections from Louise Rhoades-Brown easily telegraph the location without being intrusive.

A large talented cast with beautiful vocals, simple harmonies here and there, led by the enigmatic Wade McCollum in role of Carl and the very wonderful Alyssa Martyn as Elena who perfectly fits as the angelic beautiful woman of Carl’s affections.

There are a lot of Producers on this show! Lead Producer Jeremiah James has put together something quite special! Expertly directed and choreographed by Marc Robin.

You’ll go a long way to find a better show in London this summer!

(Photo Credit: Darren Bell)

Further Information:

Broadway actor Wade McCollum (The Wizard in Wicked) is Carl and Alyssa Martyn is the tragic love of his life, Elena.
Wade McCollum was recently nominated for a Best Actor Lucille Lortel Award starring off-Broadway as Ernest Shackleton in Ernest Shackleton Loves Me. Previously, he starred as Tick/Mitzi in the first national tour of the musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert and as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, for which he garnered the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, Backstage’s Garland Award for Best Actor and an Ovation Award for Best Musical. In 2012 Wade was seen Off Broadway as the Velociraptor of Faith in Triassic Parq – the musical. In New York he also starred as Jeffrey in Jeffrey at the Sage Theatre and as Nestor le Fripe in Irma la Douce at Musicals Tonight.

Alyssa Martyn originated the role of Amelia in the premiere of new musical The Clockmaker’s Daughter (Landor Theatre/St James Theatre Studio). Her other roles include playing Gazer in The Cagebirds (New Wimbledon Theatre Studio), Marty in Grease, Ariel in Footloose, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, WestEnd Men (Vaudeville Theatre), and The Mikado (Charing Cross Theatre).

The other 12 members of the ensemble are:

Val Adams, Miguel Angel, Alexander Barria, Mary-Jean Caldwell, Andrea  Golinucci, Siwan Henderson, Sophia Lewis, Guido Garcia Lueches, Hannah McIver, Ross McLaren, Johan Munir, Nuno Queimado.

It Happened in Key West has Book, Music and Lyrics By Jill Santoriello, Book and Additional Lyrics by Jason Huza, Book and Original Concept by Jeremiah James.It will be directed and choreographed by Marc Robin, who has staged almost 400 productions across the US, earning multiple awards and nominations.
Producers: Jeremiah James, Rashad V. Chambers, Marylou Rothfuss, Art Lab LLC, John Carroll, Jess Weiss & Cameron Smith.

The rest of the creative team are:

Production Designer Jamie Roderick

Costume Designer Lisa Zinni
Projection Designer Louise Rhoades-Brown
Sound Designer Andrew Johnson
Musical Director Andrew Hopkins
Orchestrations Robert Felstein
UK casting Neil Rutherford.