Review On Authenticity: The Musical

Shari Barrett

Registered Critic, Writer, Publicist

WOW! As a former high school theatre arts teacher, I am amazed at the wonderful talent and true-to-life story taking place in this world premiere production. It always amazes me when I am out in public how people are always on their phones and don’t speak to each other in real time. And that’s not just teens but adults as well. This musical deals with that issue; kids trying to be who they think they want others to see them as rather than being honest about who they really are and their real feelings and problems.
The two leads, Norman Thatch as Hudson and Erika Cruz as Aurora (who pretends to be Terri online) take you inside their hearts and souls as they attempt to deal with their judgmental friends while attempting to be authentic with each other. But just who is being real? Is anyone?
Bravo to the entire production team and cast for bringing attention to this noteworthy musical about teen angst and the pressure to fit in, even when feeling as if “I am Not Enough” or “I am Too Much” with each other.
Great strings added to the scenes of heartbreak during the musical, with effective and attention-grabbing small stage choreography throughout. I especially enjoyed the “classroom” scene watching the teacher ruminate about the kids all on their phones, then taking them away which resulted in a major dispute played out through song and movement. Such heart-wrenching lines, such as “We don’t have to be nice because people already like us,” “if everyone is agreeing to the same things (online), it must be right,” and “what does it cost to be deep and authentic?”
Great lighting effects enhanced the scenes, although several times the young performers seemed to miss their marks and sing in the dark for awhile. Good sound engineering during the virtual presentation with the dialogue and songs clearly heard throughout.
Kudos to the entire production team and cast:
john cassidy - playwright and director
noelle hall - producer
vanessa hannish - assistant director
avery potemri - choreographer
melaney garcia - choreographer
jimena ochoa - producer
michael vanbodegom smith - composer
norman thatch - hudson
erika cruz - aurora/terri
amanda boutaud - casey
giancarlo garritano - mr starlson
faye turner - paxton (the girl always in red)
jeffrey delfin - simon
eddie mayer - vinnie
rachel logan - ensemble

Shari Barrett, a Los Angeles native, has been active in the theater world since the age of six - acting, singing, and dancing her way across the boards all over town. After teaching in local secondary schools, working in marketing for several studios, writing, directing, producing, and performing in productions for several non-profit theaters, Shari now dedicates her time and focuses her skills as an independent publicist to "get the word out" about smaller theaters throughout the Los Angeles area.

As a founding member of the LA Stage Alliance Leadership Council Task Force, she and reps from theaters throughout the city worked together to articulate a vision for the theatre community of Greater Los Angeles.

Shari has received recognition from the City of Los Angeles for her dedication of heart and hand to the needs of friends, neighbors and fellow members of society for her devotion of service to the people of Los Angeles, and is honored to serve the theatre world in her hometown.

Currently she is the Publicist and a member of the Kentwood Players at the Westchester Playhouse.