GO A RING IN BROOKLYN: A FRICKIN' MUSICAL It's the 10-year reunion for the class of Brooklyn's FDR High School, and the past and present are about to collide. Gina (Gabrielle Wagner), Jenn (Jordan Kai Burnett) and the flashy class slut, Tracy (Anna Hanson), are only minutes into dancing, drinking and girly reminiscences when attentions turn to a promise ring given to Gina long ago on a "special night." But this piece of jewelry has been lost, so to speak, and returning it to its rightful owner becomes an obsession, wittingly or unwittingly, for everyone. Eric Dodson's book caroms back and forth between 1979 and 1989, telling the why and how of the ring and its importance in the lives of these classmates. It's a clever piece of storytelling (though slightly overwritten) that also includes some surprising plot twists. And it's not all about the gals. Gordy (a fine Mike Irizarry), Smitty (Mark Shunock), Ronny (Johnny Cannizzaro) and Tommy (Matt Valle) also are part of this humorous, improbable tale. The operative word here is fun. Dodson's lyrics and Alan Ross Fleishman's laid-back blend of jazz, disco and R&B music make for easy listening, and director Joshua Finkel's cast turn in solid performances. Doma Theatre and Academy for New Musical Theatre at the NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Blvd., N. Hlywd.; Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m.; through Sept. 2. (818) 506-8500,
Lovell Estell III, LA WEEKLY
"A Ring in Brooklyn ...turns out a winner."
"...you may find yourself as this reviewer did in the palm of its bejeweled hand."
"A Ring In Brooklyn really catches fire [with] a musical number so original and powerful that it elevates A Ring In Brooklyn to a whole new level. ... quite unlike anything I’ve ever seen before."
"Fleishmann’s music and Dodson’s lyrics get catchier and catchier ...Finkel and company making the very most of each song’s potential [with his] inspired choreography."
"Musical director Ross Källing does bang-up work ... "
"A Ring In Brooklyn stands a good chance of a life beyond its current engagement. One thing is certain. Its book and song writers could not have found a better team to bring their vision to life than the onstage and behind-the-scenes team behind this very promising world premiere."
—Steven Stanley, StageSceneLA.com
“ …a happy miracle”
“…an evening of unexpectedly poignant entertainment…”
“… an unabashedly commercial work …it could have a shot at breaking through.”
“…surprising and satisfying…”
“ Dodson’s dialogue and lyrics show real sensitivity…”
"The Academy for New Musical Theatre has a lot to be proud of here …”
—Samuel Bernstein, StageAndCinema.com
"...razor-sharp script by playwright-lyricist Eric Dodson and composer Alan Ross Fleishman"
"Jordan Kai Burnett spins gold with the role of Gina’s best friend, the quintessential Brooklyn single girl." ..."Burnett and Wagner’s chemistry is utterly believable and riotously funny. In particular, their second act closer, “So Not Seventeen,” in which they are joined in the ladies’ room by Anna Hanson in a delicious turn as the class slut, is a showstopper as the trio catfights its way through Dodson’s wickedly ingenious lyrics."
—Dink O'Neal, ArtsInLA.com
"...a vibrant production"
"...the cohesive, talented ensemble ...succeeds in delighting the audience."
"...the song and dance numbers revisit that formative time and place in all of our lives, drawing deep emotions from the audience, throughout the performance. The once magical and memorable moments of high school and all it entails: first love, first kiss, unrequited crushes... are all portrayed impeccably by the dynamic cast of colorful characters ..."
—Bonnie Preever, Examiner.com