Neil Simon's Musical Fools

Critics

LemonMeter

92 %

Reviews: 13

Audience

LemonMeter

100 %

Reviews: 8

A hilarious musical adaptation of the Neil Simon play, Fools, with book and lyrics by Simon, and music and lyrics by Phil Swann and Ron West. In 1893 Ukraine, a young tutor arrives in Kulyenchikov after a harrowing journey — only to discover that the village is cursed, rendering every resident as dumb as a bag of rocks. Will he fall victim to the curse, or can he save himself and the village too? Oct. 4 through Jan. 26: Open Fist Theatre Company at Atwater Village Theatre, 3269 Casitas Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90039; $10-$35; (323) 882-6912; www.openfist.org.

GET 10% off regular priced purchase of an Adult ticket or Family 4-pack (2 adults, 2 children) with discount code OpenFist - tickets can be purchased at OpenFist.secure.force.com/ticket. This discount is not available at the door.

Reviews

Avatar

Musical Fools is so damn good. Ron West directed and wrote lyrics for the Neil Simon play, Fools. Topical and fun. Hilarious and silly. Performances with impeccable comedic timing AND direction. We loved it. The boys loved it. Crazy good. #musicalfools

sweet - Ron Song


Avatar

A fantastically fun, lively and timely show! Deftly directed with a superb cast, seeing Neil Simon's Musical Fools was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple hours. I highly recommend if you are a fan of music, theater and laughter.

sweet - Fay Gauthier


Shari Barrett

Being of Ukrainian descent myself, it certainly was easy to see these clueless souls as long-lost relatives, dealing with life as best they could in less than perfect circumstances. Perhaps that's why I laughed so much during all their antics, or perhaps director Ron West just instinctively knows how to mine the comic spirit in all of us to forget our troubles and just laugh at the ridiculous nature of life itself. Whatever the case, I guarantee you will laugh uncontrollably throughout, especially at the best intermission break announcement song I have ever heard in any production!

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

The actors give it their all, but the energy just isn’t there. And while most of them are capable of singing (like most of us are), they don’t appear to be accomplished vocalists (considering they’re in a musical and so much of this story is told through song), and they don’t project enough to make up for any weakness in vocal ability.

sweet-sour - Harker Jones - Arts in LA - ...read full review


Avatar

Musical Fools is totally unbelievable and totally entertaining. The slapstick and farce as well as Neil Simon's clever lines make for fast paced entertainment. Phil Swann and Ron West's songs alternate between rollicking and poignant as the young lovers fight to break the spell. Great way to enjoy a couple of hours in Czarist Russia.

sweet - Herbert Gore


Avatar

Imagine Fiddler on the Roof with a cast of idiots and you'll get a feeling for the tone of FOOLS. A large and talented ensemble bring the residents of Kulyenchikov to life, often with hilarious results.

sweet-sour - Lisa Lyons - Lyons' Views, News and Reviews - ...read full review


Stephen Fife

As I watched Ron West’s production of Neil Simon’s Musical Fools, the thought kept crossing my mind: Oh yes, the holidays are coming. Because this is a perfect holiday musical. In fact, the more I think about it, it may be the perfect holiday musical for our times. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Stephen Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

I've seen this show twice. It's well acted, funny, fast paced, superbly directed, great band. The music and choreography make this formerly straight play come alive with amusing lyrics and some memorable songs. It's like a fairy tale (no 4-letter words) and suitable for youngsters (ages 7-12) as it's often hysterically over the top. Highly recommended!

sweet - Ann Mulally


Avatar

Musical Fools was great! I identified whole heartedly with the characters whose minds were lost while living under the rule of an unjust man. I enjoyed the music, the incredibly talented cast who clearly had the best time performing this show, and the sets and costumes. I think I giggled through the whole show. Please go see it, it’s really fun.

sweet - Marion D


Avatar

I wasn’t filled with expectations when I went to see Neil Simon’s Musical Fools, currently onstage at the Atwater Village Theatre, but I was pleasantly surprised by an entertaining show performed by a talented ensemble cast and a score chock full of hummable tunes...

This new show with some lyrics by Simon and music and new lyrics by Phil Swann and Ron West—who also directs—is a delightful farce that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

sweet - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


Avatar

Open Fist’s Neil Simon’s Musical Fools is seriously in the well-achieve above the hype category that anyone should expect from this theater company’s long list of consummate productions.

And, as luck would have it it’s getting an extension. Do not miss.

Very Highly Recommended

sweet - Tracey Paleo - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Avatar

Open Fist Theatre Company reminds us why we ever wanted to go see shows to begin with; to laugh and have fun with friends. This spirited new musical version of Neil Simon's FOOLS features a whimsical cast of star (and eye) crossed lovers, doting parents, town eccentrics, a cow -- even a red velvet villain. It's a supremely silly story about a village cursed with stupidity. ( People should dance like this in real life.) So grab a friend, grab a beer, maybe some cookies.

sweet - David Kovac


Leo Buck

If you’re in the market for a good, old fashioned. “Forget your troubles” kind of musical you’ve hit the jackpot here—so what if it all adds up to lunacy, it’s lovable lunacy! Up in “Comedy Heaven” it’s a good bet ol’ Neil Simon is looking down and smiling—this amazing new ‘musicalization’ certainly gives him excellent reason to!

sweet - Leo Buck - Bucking Trends - ...read full review


Avatar

Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining . Smiled and laughed throughout. Enjoyed the music, the singing, the dancing , the costumes and the set. The complexity of integrating the different kinds of fools , the many delightful visual and auditory stimuli , a humorous script and magnificent cast was effectively, smoothly and unusually well handled.

sweet - George Wolkon


Avatar

I enjoyed this show so much I went twice, to see the alternate performers. If you are looking for a fast paced, hilarious show that will make you forget your cares, this is the one. Ron West's direction makes all the difference, it is so sharp and clever. Singing ranges from expert to a bit shaky, but the lead singers are very strong and the laughs just keep coming. The set is a visual treat, it looks like designs on a Ukrainian egg. The lighting is as clever and fast moving as the show, and the choreography is a real giggle. Highly recommend!

sweet - Allison Field


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

Director Ron West (doubling as co-contributor of music and lyrics with Phil Swann) does a brilliant job of taking a rather dull and pedantic play and turning it into an enchanting musical. Kudos to music director Jan Roper, choreographer Louisa Kendrick Burton, and musical arranger Luke Harrington. The end result is a charming, bouncy, and delightful story of ill-fated lovers who must rise above adversity. Lyrics are clever and humorous – with lots of opportunities for laughter throughout. The large ensemble cast does a terrific piece of work keeping the fantastic funny and fun as they sing their hearts out and dance about scenic designer Jan Munroe’s bright and vivid stage.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The plot, too complex to explain here, but easily understood by an audience, is filled comedic opportunity, which the cast, under the superb direction of Ron West, seizes with unfettered gusto. When they perform as an ensemble unit, the complex, detailed choreography by Louisa Kendrick Burton is delivered with hilarious precision. In fact, precision is the name of the game here, with rapid entrances and exits, hand-offs of props, and action so breathlessly energetic that it called to my mind the old Broadway show and subsequent movie, Olsen and Johnson’s Hellzapoppin. The musical numbers come fast and furious with an expert band consisting of Matt Germaine on reeds, Ross Wright (Ryan Roberts, alternate) on bass, Adam Snow on drums and percussion, with musical director Jan Roper conducting at the piano at the piano...

Neil Simon’s Musical Fools is so hilarious that I giggled, guffawed, snorted, and howled basically through out the whole show. I cannot remember having a better time at a show than this. If you love comedy as I do, don’t hesitate, get your tickets, see the show, extend its run. You will not be sorry.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Regional theaters looking for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser to add to an upcoming season are hereby advised to take note of Neil Simon’s Musical Fools. In the meantime, L.A. audiences can count themselves fortunate indeed to get the country’s first professional look at this irresistible musical treat.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

A charming new musical closely based on prolific American playwright Neil Simon’s Fools has just enjoyed its world premiere here and is running through November 17. It’s not a terribly deep piece, and not the usual fodder for our serious, politically engaged readers, yet it is so boisterously silly and good-hearted, and suitable for all audiences, that it is truly worth seeing in times that need a little comic relief. Wasn’t it Lenin, after all, who said, “Irony and patience are the principal qualities of the revolutionary?”

The role of the fool is a well established literary type; there probably is no cultural tradition in the world that does not poke gentle fun at the more simple-minded among us. He shows up in the best places—Shakespeare, the operatic stage, countless Russian novels. Critics always like to point out how the fool, like a child, can say things to the face of authority that others cannot: On the surface their comments are illogical and meaningless, but underneath them resides a deeper lucidity about power and its abuses. I’ll pick up on this thread further down.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

This review, in the spirit of Neil Simon, means to say that the laughs are cheap and well worth the time investment. The huge cast and wonderful orchestra make the evening memorable though long...

Applause for all of the Fools on the stage and those of us cavorting in the audience.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

The music and lyrics, so cleverly contrived by Swann West, have a Sondheim-esque tone to them, each musical number outshining the previous. We’re simple people- we know not what we do” has such a catchy beat, you’ll find yourself humming upon leaving the theatre, the tell tale sign of a hit song. To escape a real world, fraught with worry and fear, come see “Musical Fools” filled with a ‘don’t worry, be happy’ vibe.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Shari Barrett

Being of Ukrainian descent myself, it certainly was easy to see these clueless souls as long-lost relatives, dealing with life as best they could in less than perfect circumstances. Perhaps that's why I laughed so much during all their antics, or perhaps director Ron West just instinctively knows how to mine the comic spirit in all of us to forget our troubles and just laugh at the ridiculous nature of life itself. Whatever the case, I guarantee you will laugh uncontrollably throughout, especially at the best intermission break announcement song I have ever heard in any production!

sweet - Shari Barrett - Broadway World - ...read full review


Avatar

The actors give it their all, but the energy just isn’t there. And while most of them are capable of singing (like most of us are), they don’t appear to be accomplished vocalists (considering they’re in a musical and so much of this story is told through song), and they don’t project enough to make up for any weakness in vocal ability.

sweet-sour - Harker Jones - Arts in LA - ...read full review


Avatar

Imagine Fiddler on the Roof with a cast of idiots and you'll get a feeling for the tone of FOOLS. A large and talented ensemble bring the residents of Kulyenchikov to life, often with hilarious results.

sweet-sour - Lisa Lyons - Lyons' Views, News and Reviews - ...read full review


Stephen Fife

As I watched Ron West’s production of Neil Simon’s Musical Fools, the thought kept crossing my mind: Oh yes, the holidays are coming. Because this is a perfect holiday musical. In fact, the more I think about it, it may be the perfect holiday musical for our times. - RECOMMENDED

sweet - Stephen Fife - Stage Raw - ...read full review


Avatar

I wasn’t filled with expectations when I went to see Neil Simon’s Musical Fools, currently onstage at the Atwater Village Theatre, but I was pleasantly surprised by an entertaining show performed by a talented ensemble cast and a score chock full of hummable tunes...

This new show with some lyrics by Simon and music and new lyrics by Phil Swann and Ron West—who also directs—is a delightful farce that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

sweet - Marilyn Tower Oliver - Los Feliz Ledger - ...read full review


Avatar

Open Fist’s Neil Simon’s Musical Fools is seriously in the well-achieve above the hype category that anyone should expect from this theater company’s long list of consummate productions.

And, as luck would have it it’s getting an extension. Do not miss.

Very Highly Recommended

sweet - Tracey Paleo - Gia On the Move - ...read full review


Leo Buck

If you’re in the market for a good, old fashioned. “Forget your troubles” kind of musical you’ve hit the jackpot here—so what if it all adds up to lunacy, it’s lovable lunacy! Up in “Comedy Heaven” it’s a good bet ol’ Neil Simon is looking down and smiling—this amazing new ‘musicalization’ certainly gives him excellent reason to!

sweet - Leo Buck - Bucking Trends - ...read full review


Elaine L. Mura - LA Splash

Director Ron West (doubling as co-contributor of music and lyrics with Phil Swann) does a brilliant job of taking a rather dull and pedantic play and turning it into an enchanting musical. Kudos to music director Jan Roper, choreographer Louisa Kendrick Burton, and musical arranger Luke Harrington. The end result is a charming, bouncy, and delightful story of ill-fated lovers who must rise above adversity. Lyrics are clever and humorous – with lots of opportunities for laughter throughout. The large ensemble cast does a terrific piece of work keeping the fantastic funny and fun as they sing their hearts out and dance about scenic designer Jan Munroe’s bright and vivid stage.

sweet - Elaine Mura - Splash Magazines - ...read full review


Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

The plot, too complex to explain here, but easily understood by an audience, is filled comedic opportunity, which the cast, under the superb direction of Ron West, seizes with unfettered gusto. When they perform as an ensemble unit, the complex, detailed choreography by Louisa Kendrick Burton is delivered with hilarious precision. In fact, precision is the name of the game here, with rapid entrances and exits, hand-offs of props, and action so breathlessly energetic that it called to my mind the old Broadway show and subsequent movie, Olsen and Johnson’s Hellzapoppin. The musical numbers come fast and furious with an expert band consisting of Matt Germaine on reeds, Ross Wright (Ryan Roberts, alternate) on bass, Adam Snow on drums and percussion, with musical director Jan Roper conducting at the piano at the piano...

Neil Simon’s Musical Fools is so hilarious that I giggled, guffawed, snorted, and howled basically through out the whole show. I cannot remember having a better time at a show than this. If you love comedy as I do, don’t hesitate, get your tickets, see the show, extend its run. You will not be sorry.

sweet - Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes - ...read full review


Steven Stanley

Regional theaters looking for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser to add to an upcoming season are hereby advised to take note of Neil Simon’s Musical Fools. In the meantime, L.A. audiences can count themselves fortunate indeed to get the country’s first professional look at this irresistible musical treat.

sweet - Steven Stanley - StageSceneLA - ...read full review


Eric A Gordon

A charming new musical closely based on prolific American playwright Neil Simon’s Fools has just enjoyed its world premiere here and is running through November 17. It’s not a terribly deep piece, and not the usual fodder for our serious, politically engaged readers, yet it is so boisterously silly and good-hearted, and suitable for all audiences, that it is truly worth seeing in times that need a little comic relief. Wasn’t it Lenin, after all, who said, “Irony and patience are the principal qualities of the revolutionary?”

The role of the fool is a well established literary type; there probably is no cultural tradition in the world that does not poke gentle fun at the more simple-minded among us. He shows up in the best places—Shakespeare, the operatic stage, countless Russian novels. Critics always like to point out how the fool, like a child, can say things to the face of authority that others cannot: On the surface their comments are illogical and meaningless, but underneath them resides a deeper lucidity about power and its abuses. I’ll pick up on this thread further down.

sweet - Eric Gordon - People's World - ...read full review


Avatar

This review, in the spirit of Neil Simon, means to say that the laughs are cheap and well worth the time investment. The huge cast and wonderful orchestra make the evening memorable though long...

Applause for all of the Fools on the stage and those of us cavorting in the audience.

sweet - Michael Sheehan - On Stage Los Angeles - ...read full review


Avatar

The music and lyrics, so cleverly contrived by Swann West, have a Sondheim-esque tone to them, each musical number outshining the previous. We’re simple people- we know not what we do” has such a catchy beat, you’ll find yourself humming upon leaving the theatre, the tell tale sign of a hit song. To escape a real world, fraught with worry and fear, come see “Musical Fools” filled with a ‘don’t worry, be happy’ vibe.

sweet - Bonnie Priever - Curtain Up - ...read full review


Avatar

Musical Fools is so damn good. Ron West directed and wrote lyrics for the Neil Simon play, Fools. Topical and fun. Hilarious and silly. Performances with impeccable comedic timing AND direction. We loved it. The boys loved it. Crazy good. #musicalfools

sweet - Ron Song


Avatar

A fantastically fun, lively and timely show! Deftly directed with a superb cast, seeing Neil Simon's Musical Fools was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a couple hours. I highly recommend if you are a fan of music, theater and laughter.

sweet - Fay Gauthier


Avatar

Musical Fools is totally unbelievable and totally entertaining. The slapstick and farce as well as Neil Simon's clever lines make for fast paced entertainment. Phil Swann and Ron West's songs alternate between rollicking and poignant as the young lovers fight to break the spell. Great way to enjoy a couple of hours in Czarist Russia.

sweet - Herbert Gore


Avatar

I've seen this show twice. It's well acted, funny, fast paced, superbly directed, great band. The music and choreography make this formerly straight play come alive with amusing lyrics and some memorable songs. It's like a fairy tale (no 4-letter words) and suitable for youngsters (ages 7-12) as it's often hysterically over the top. Highly recommended!

sweet - Ann Mulally


Avatar

Musical Fools was great! I identified whole heartedly with the characters whose minds were lost while living under the rule of an unjust man. I enjoyed the music, the incredibly talented cast who clearly had the best time performing this show, and the sets and costumes. I think I giggled through the whole show. Please go see it, it’s really fun.

sweet - Marion D


Avatar

Open Fist Theatre Company reminds us why we ever wanted to go see shows to begin with; to laugh and have fun with friends. This spirited new musical version of Neil Simon's FOOLS features a whimsical cast of star (and eye) crossed lovers, doting parents, town eccentrics, a cow -- even a red velvet villain. It's a supremely silly story about a village cursed with stupidity. ( People should dance like this in real life.) So grab a friend, grab a beer, maybe some cookies.

sweet - David Kovac


Avatar

Thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining . Smiled and laughed throughout. Enjoyed the music, the singing, the dancing , the costumes and the set. The complexity of integrating the different kinds of fools , the many delightful visual and auditory stimuli , a humorous script and magnificent cast was effectively, smoothly and unusually well handled.

sweet - George Wolkon


Avatar

I enjoyed this show so much I went twice, to see the alternate performers. If you are looking for a fast paced, hilarious show that will make you forget your cares, this is the one. Ron West's direction makes all the difference, it is so sharp and clever. Singing ranges from expert to a bit shaky, but the lead singers are very strong and the laughs just keep coming. The set is a visual treat, it looks like designs on a Ukrainian egg. The lighting is as clever and fast moving as the show, and the choreography is a real giggle. Highly recommend!

sweet - Allison Field