On Thursday night I saw the cabaret-style musical Mock Your World starring recent Woman Around Town Lisa Rothauser. I was excited to go see this show, though maybe a little anxious about who I was bringing with me given what I knew about the content. When the show was over I met Lisa, and introduced her to my date. She looked at me, looked at my date, looked at me again and said, “You brought your DAD to this show??” I was relieved we hadn’t met before the show. My dad and I both laughed and I couldn’t get the words out fast enough, “HE LOVED IT!”
Before I saw the show, I called it “edgy,” but now I’ll borrow a line from an email my dad sent urging one of his friends to see it, “It is very salty, maybe even raunchy, but done with great humor and polished singing.” This show is the cabaret version of Saturday Night Live. In addition to Lisa, the show stars three other phenomenal singers – Marya Grandy, Robby Sharpe, and Bart Shatto. Andrew Byrne, who wrote all of the lyrics for the show, is the pianist and miraculously keeps a straight face throughout the show. The group is directed by Amy Rogers, who is also the Director of the BFA Musical Theatre Program at Pace University.
A couple of the songs played to the audience that seemed to be mostly theater industry people. One was a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas, called Twelve Bad Auditions and another was called Summer Stock and was filled with jokes about the summer theater program that is very familiar to stage actors. In the middle of Summer Stock, I leaned over to my dad and whispered, “This feels like an inside joke.” He didn’t even take the time to look over, he just leaned towards me and said out of the side of his mouth, “Well I get it.” As legend has it, my dad was “this close” to getting his Equity Card in the early-1980s, but he explained after the show that he got the jokes as a regular theater-goer, not as an actor.
The rest of the show was aimed at New Yorkers. The songs span crude yet relatable topics from losing control of your bowels on the subway to trying to sleep on the Chinatown bus while two gay men sitting behind you go from being strangers to “more than friends.” Each of the performers has a strong and unique voice, and the lyrics are so carefully and delicately written that it leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering what will come out next.
Rockwood Music Hall is the perfect venue for this show’s current and brief run. It has the classic small cabaret stage that somehow manages to fit a piano and four actors, but it’s more hip than a lot of theater spaces. There are a handful of tables in front of the stage, but there is also seating at the bar and a cozy and cramped balcony with small high tables. After the show, people flooded the area right around the bar, and the actors came out and accepted their praise.
The last performance for this run was on Saturday, but ideally the show will find some investors and be back in the fall for an Off Broadway run. This show is the perfect marriage of comedy and music, and the team that was on stage together on Thursday night could not have represented that marriage more beautifully.