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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Crash The Wild Party at Onstage Atlanta

click to enlarge SWING STATE: Mary Nye Bennett as Queenie (left) and Geoff
  • SWING STATE: Mary Nye Bennett as Queenie (left) and Geoff

A steamy musical number turns into a group grope in the second act of Onstage Atlanta’s red hot production of The Wild Party. The libidinous ensemble pushes a bed center stage; shirtless guys and women in slinky negligees drape themselves over the leads and most of the furniture; and the rhythmic music and motions build to a climax in all senses of the word. When it ends, audience members emit audible gasps, as if they’re ready for either a cigarette or a cold shower.

It’s funny that a musical with so much casual sex isn’t exactly easy. Onstage Atlanta has found a niche in tackling challenging modern musicals that have some built-in difficulties, but also come well-endowed with entertainment value. The Wild Party has a quirky history, being one of two musicals of the same name, both of which debuted in 2000 and were based on Joseph Moncure March’s 1928 mock-epic poem about love and violence among Prohibition-era bohemians. Onstage’s Barbara Cole Uterhardt directs Andrew Lippa's Off-Broadway version, as opposed to the higher-profile rendition (which featured Toni Collette and Mandy Patinkin).

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(Photo by Todd Fleeman)

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