HomeTheater Review: "In Transit" at 59E59 Theaters, NYC

CASAJersey's picture

New York City and a cappella was a marriage that worked for many years, and works once again, thanks to the new a cappella musical, “In Transit”, which played at 59E59 Theaters through October 30th.  I saw this new production on the last weekend of previews, on October 2nd;  its regular run began on October 6th.  “In Transit” is not only a well put-together musical, it features seven singers whose polish and virtuosity stacks up with any professional a cappella group I’ve seen.

The show is set in New York City, and revolves around the premise that “Life is lived between stations”.  Most of the action occurs in subway cars and platforms, but often we travel with the characters to their homes, and their work.  There are four story lines interwoven through the show; the first is of an aspiring actress, the second about a woman struggling to move on after a failed relationship, the third is about a laid-off broker trying to find his place, and the last is about a one man’s struggle to tell his family about who he truly is. 

Chesney Snow’s role as “Boxman” is the glue that helps to hold this show together, acting partly as narrator, and helping to tie the four storylines together.  While he’s listed as a beatboxer, he’s definitely more than that, possessing a palette of vocal percussion sounds that reminds one of Jake Moulton, Jeff Thatcher, and Wes Carroll.  If you forced this reviewer to say whom he resembles the most, I would have to say Jeff Thatcher, since as someone from the beatboxing world, Mr. Snow’s sound clearly has a more organic feel to it than the more drum kit sound often produced by Wes Carroll.  Steve French’s bass is rich and well accomplished, reminiscent of Joel Rutherford of Acoustix.  Celisse Henderson possesses a soulful voice reminiscent of Jodi Jenkins of Vox One; the rest of the players, Hannah Laird, Graham Stevens, Denise Summerford, and Tommar Wilson can all take the lead and blend admirably.   Only once in the whole performance did I notice any pitch problems, and that may have very well been a key change that didn’t quite work right.  Other than that one slight hiccup in one number, I could detect no problems.

Folks, this musical is for us, a cappella fans; this musical is also for anyone with an abiding love of New York City, or any city’s fast pace.  If you love a cappella as I do, you will be entertained and impressed by this production.  If you’re a fan of musical theater, “In Transit” can stand up with the rest, and beats more than a few.  The night I was “In Transit” was certainly a treat.  This show ran through October 30th. According their site, “…though the original run was only through October 30, 2010, commercial producers are currently in talks regarding possibilities for an extended run in NYC.”  For more information about the show, and to buy tickets, go to www.intransitthemusical.com.

About the author:
Richard Pearson has been an ambassador since 1997;  He’s been a fan of a cappella since being introduced to it at the University of Rochester in 1991.  He’s judged for the ICCA's in the past, and helped with two a cappella radio shows in New Jersey, as well as founded his own radio show called "The Vocal Maximum" for two years at a third station.  He helped recruit groups for events in New Jersey, and has friends in both the contemporary and barbershop communities.  He is hoping to be a little more involved in a cappella again, and is looking to become involved in judging once again for the ICCAs this spring.”