‘Broadway Bounty Hunter’- theater review

‘Broadway Bounty Hunter’- theater review

Review by Elyse Trevers

The quirky title explains it all – Former Broadway theater star unable to find work changes jobs and begins to hunt down criminals. “Broadway Bounty Hunter,” the new musical with music and lyrics by Joe Iconis, is an offbeat comedy that is supposed to be a spoof of grade B movies. Although it was not intended to be taken seriously, at some point one might wonder if there’s any point to it at all.

The story (book by Iconis, Lance Rubin and Jason Sweettooth Williams) is convoluted, in part, because of its absurdity. The marvelous Annie Golden plays a singer of “a certain age” appropriately named Annie Golden. She goes for auditions carrying her old head shot and is immediately rejected. She can’t find work, and the opening number “Woman of a Certain Age” says it well. Despondent at her lack of job prospects and still mourning her husband who drowned 10 years before, Annie reluctantly accepts an offer from a strange woman, Shiro Jin (Emily Borromeo) to become a bounty hunter. Claiming that Annie has special gifts and experiences, Shiro has Annie train with the other bounty hunters and then pairs her up with Lazarus (Alan H. Green.) He is a Shaft-like character- a lone wolf who resents having a partner, particularly a garrulous and probably ineffectual one like Annie.

The main reason to see the show is Golden. She is a wonderful singer-performer known for “Hair,” “Assassins,” and “The Full Monty.” Younger viewers may know her best from her most recent role as Norma Romano in “Orange is the New Black.” No attempt is made to glam Golden up; in fact, she looks middle-aged and bedraggled. Wearing no makeup, she carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. However, as soon as she opens her mouth-wow! Golden also has a droll comic delivery as if she is taking nothing seriously.

With direction by Jennifer Werner, the show features some very talented performers. Brad Oscar as the ‘bad guy” makes his entrance from the middle aisle of the theater, belting out his opening number. Green has a powerful voice and presence, and the ensemble who play the bounty hunters as well as the other characters are young and energetic. They use the entire theater and sometimes do karate moves while they sing.

There’s sly humor when Annie compares disparate things to theater. When she encounters prostitutes, she suggests they create a union since they shouldn’t have to “do two shows without a two- hour break.” When Lazarus is sullen and won’t speak to her, she compares working with him to “working with Mandy Patinkin.”

Iconis won me as a fan with his recent musical, “Be More Chill,” but despite some entertaining music, this show isn’t in the same category. Annie’s frustration at being rejected for jobs feels realistic but the bounty hunter theme gets ridiculous. If you can discount that and appreciate Golden, you can sit back and enjoy the show.

The biggest gimmick is that the wonderful Annie Golden is really playing Annie Golden and the characters refer to her actual roles. It’s feels like an inside joke that the audiences gets to share with the performers. I wonder how younger viewers relate to the device since many of them don’t know her past successes. It also makes one wonder how the show could ever go on without her since there’s no possibility of taking the show on the road or reviving it without her. We were actually quite lucky-we got to see the real Annie Golden and what a treat it was.

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