Archikulture Digest
Florida Festival of New Musicals

Florida Festival of New Musicals

June 24 to 27, 2021 Winter Park Playhouse Winter Park, FL

Is it too early to be writing a rousing musical about Covid? Maybe, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sing and dance about everything else in life. Last year’s Florida Festival of New Musicals had to lock itself in a sealed room and tap dance alone until it was safe to re-emerge. They held those scripts over, and now we can see an hour from six new shows.That’s just enough time to get hooked but not enough save the damsel from the dragon. Let’s take a twirl around the dance floor:
-bb The Golden Door
-bb Book by Michelle Van Doeren and Andrew Swensen
-bb Lyrics by Andrew Swensen
-bb Music by Scott Anderson

Bad as things might look in 19th century Europe, there’s always the option of aiming for Ellis Island and the fabled golden life in America. Reality is much harsher, and a ticket to the new world doesn’t erase racism, anti-Semitism, nor any of the thousand flaws in the family of man. This is a sparkling musical with great songs, interesting conflicts and showing the majesty of “Ragtime” and the effusiveness of “In the Heights,” but with more likeable immigrants. There’s the French dancer eager to get out and find her own lover and not the dud daddy picked. There’s the black man, free but abused, and my favorite: the overly happy Irishman, deeply in love with his postcard of Lady Liberty. The music impresses, the disparate characters blend as well as any of us, and the captain is a bit of a jerk and not above seducing a passenger. All that’s missing is the iceberg, but that points us to a happy ending.

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