REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Plastic Revolution

A World Premiere Musicalplastic-revolution

Book by Will Cavedo & Andrew Hobgood

Lyrics by Andrew Hobgood

Music by Julie Nichols

Directed by Evan Linder

Music Direction by Charlotte Rivard-Hoster

Produced by The New Colony

Sound issues and weak voices hindered an ambitious new musical.

The New Colony loves to collaboratively create new theatre pieces. In the past they have mounted several terrifically quaint shows. I have grown to appreciate these talented daredevils as the push the envelop in interesting ways. They are now a resident company at The Den and they are occupying the main upstairs space with their world premier musical, Plastic Revolution.

the new colony

This musical is a parody of the 1950’s family life (think TV’s Leave It To Beaver) set in Kissimee, Florida (a suburb of Orlando). William Boles’ set design and Nathan Rohrer’s custom design take us back to a time when housewives never left home without wearing  a dress and white gloves. We meet a group of housewives who rejoice in doing house work and, of course, gossiping.

the new colony

When recently widowed Delores Clarke ( nice vocals by Sasha Smith) meets the hyper-active Tupperware pioneer, Brownie Wise (Cessie Thompson), herself a caricature of the ditzy blond, the plastic revolution starts to sweep through the neighborhood.  Brownie sells Tupperware as a way for housewives to save at least two hours per day, thus giving women some needed independence.  This plastic craze promises to change social norms, affects small-town politics as it changes the face of dinner tables for ever!

But when Lilah (Danny Taylor in drag) and her circle of housewives: Kitty Toots (Daeshawna Cook), Gertie Minor (Elise Mayfield) and Gladys Carroll (Lizzie Schwarzrock) meet, they gossip about why Brownie and Delores are meeting. They think that their “plastic revolution” just may be a leftist, anti-family revolution.  But only Lilah stays paranoid after the group attends a Tupperware party at Delores’ house.

the new colony

While all this silliness is in good fun that constantly breaks outs in songs and dances – that is where the production goes astray. Paul Perry’s sound mix, despite the mics on all the performers, with  music director Charlotte Rivard-Hoster’s band playing much too loud, and despite me sitting in the center of the first row, I was unable to hear most of the singers since they were over powered by the music. There is a danger when singers are amplified since they sometimes believe that they don’t have to project much, but mics only amplify what they are given. Unfortunately, the band was too loud and the singers failed to sing loud enough to be heard and understood. Too bad since the lyrics I did hear were clever. (I asked several audience members at intermission if they had problems hearing the singers. They all said that the band was too loud.)

the new colony

Those sound issues with the assortment of  weak voices hurt the musical and the dancing and choreography were rudimentary at best. Still, there were moments when Plastic Revolution was funny, campy with parody of those clueless housewives of the 1950’s. Danny Taylor’s depiction of a woman was a hoot and Joshua R. Bartlett sang and tapped nicely as the the Tupperware Executive.

The New Colony will hopefully solve those sound problems and Plastic Revolution can emerge as a cute little musical. The creatives at The New Colony will improve this show as they get use to The Den’s space. I’d love to hear and understand more of the witty lyrics.

Somewhat Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: January 20, 2015

For more info checkout the Plastic Revolution page at

At The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL,, tickets $25, $15 students/seniors, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3pm, running time is 1 hour 55 minutes with intermission, through February 22, 2015