On paper, "[title of show]" sounds like a bad dream you might have after swigging too many mocha lattes in the East Village: Two New York buddies sit around trying to create an entry for the annual New York Music Theatre Festival; they end up writing a "musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical." As it turned out, Hunter Bell (book) and Jeff Bowen (music and lyrics) fashioned an exceedingly clever, instantly likable piece out of that real-life scenario.
"[title of show]," receiving its area premiere in a snappy production at the Signature Theatre, is a nonstop send-up and mash-up of all things Broadway, at once smart and smart-alecky, self-conscious and self-confident. It turns the theatrical process on its head and takes the venerable let's-put-on-a-show device for a wild spin, using some brilliant wordplay and more-than-serviceable songs spiced with clever melodic and harmonic turns.
The Signature staging, nimbly directed and choreographed by Matthew Gardiner, features spot-on characterizations and colorful singing from James Gardiner (Hunter), Sam Ludwig (Jeff), Jenna Sokolowski (Susan) and Erin Driscoll (Heidi). Gabriel Mangiante is the supple pianist.
For the complete review, go to baltimoresun.com/clefnotes.
"[title of show]" runs through June 27 at Signature Theatre, 4200 Campbell Ave., Arlington, Va. Tickets are $52 to $76. Call 703-573-7328 or go to signature-theatre.org.