Heigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby’s CD sandbox where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.
This week’s album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from the minds behind last year’s Stages Houston musical extravaganza, MACGYVER: THE MUSICAL. Originally planned pre-pandemic, the postponement of Mack’s Musical dropped the show before an audience experiencing the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. So, this spoof of an 80’s TV show (which was largely a spoof on 80s spy-fare and cold war-ism) found itself surprisingly topical for 2022. A Yellow Sound Label Release, the with Music & Lyrics by Peter Lurye, Book by Kate Chavez, Robin Holloway, Lindsey Hope Pearlman & Lee D. Zlotoff is based on the TV show Zlotoff created way back when. Now, having never seen even one episode of the original or the 2016 reboot series, Bobby found himself a bit clueless going in, and perhaps that’s a good thing, since our fresh ears had no preconceived notions other than that Richard Dean Anderson sure was cute. What we found out about the show is this: Set in 1989 in East Berlin, it tells the story of how MacGyver, with the help of a punk rock band, foils an invasion of West Berlin by communist neighbor East Berlin, allowing the villains to have hokey German accents – just as they should – in order for Mack to bring down the infamous Berlin Wall and single-handedly reunite the divided country. The show itself also had the added trick of picking a rando victim from the audience to play the title role, relegating MacGyver to a placeholder toolbelt that the show happens around while they are wrangled about by cast members and stage hands with cue cards. For this recording – and in keeping with the spirit of the show, in which the lead role is cast out of the audience in every performance – the producers ran a national contest here on BroadwayWorld to find who would sing the MacGyver role on the album and, with a stellar audition, newcomer R.J. Christian was declared the winner.
Now to the album: the music here is an eclectic mish-mosh of 80’s sounds, from pop and punk charts, sprinkled with some Broadway-style ballads that, in the voices of the talented cast, actually conjure the needed moments of real emotion that a send-up must have, in order to work as a comedy creating topical satire with trope-filled, German-accented villains. The cast kicks off the album with the title song MACGYVER, a funny, hard-driving rock & roll number that captures the wild, free-wheeling feel of the original TV shows (1985 & 2016) while sending up stupid TV show themes by repeating the name Macgyver over and over again. An early favorite cut on the album is Hannah Clark Levine singing ON THE OTHER SIDE – a song about what’s on the other side of the Berlin wall. The creators, here, are pulling musical tropes and pastiches from familiar Broadway sources with hints of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and SIDESHOW woven together in Levine’s beautiful voice. Mike Dorsey‘s super hokey Russian smuggler, Boris Scratchmyitch, has a funny novelty number with I’LL TAKE CARE OF YOU, an old-fashioned patter song stuck in the midst of the rock & roll score. Broadway’s Brandon Victor Dixon has another one of these novelty numbers with DRINK DRINK DRINK that advises us to drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die… No really, tomorrow. Dixon is hilarious on this cut with his over-the-top accent and his vocal dexterity running up and down the song’s chords with his usual expertise. Another Broadway drop-in is Taylor Lauderman (presumably she and Dixon were brought in to give the album some street creds from the big street itself) who sings the soaring ballad MACGYVER MY HEART in her soaring voice. The song is deeply sincere and deeply funny in that sincerity.
Along with Lauderman and Dixon there is a surprise addition to the vocal cast with Tristin Mays, one of the stars of the recent MacGyver reboot TV series on CBS. On track 3, TOO MUCH FUTURE, a fiery song reminiscent of 80s punk rock protest anthems, the writers set up the premise about the show’s protagonist – a punk rock singer in an underground band who, aided by the Mack of the moment, must stop the invasion of West Berlin, bring down the Wall, and prevent a possible World War III.
Though not much of a cohesive story is delivered track to track on this release, the music and lyrics are humorous pastiches from a musical parody on the order of SILENCE: THE MUSICAL (of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) and offers up lots of comedy, especially of you are a MacGyver fan. So, with that in mind my dear readers, we give MACGYVER: THE MUSICAL cast album a respectable…
3 Out Of 5 Rainbows
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Own In Off Of Amazon: HERE
Or Grab It For Your iTunes: HERE
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