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Jury: The Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics By Donald Patrick Cupo
Starring Jeff Akers, Elizabeth Judith
Take A Chance Theater Inc.
At Cherry Street Theater, Winter Park, Fla
Jury duty is certainly an unpromising topic for a musical, but I admit I was pleasantly surprised by this civic duty. A bunch of regular folks get the call to help decide a notorious murder case, and sing about it while they wait. While they wait, we meet them and their own personal problems, along with the juicy details of the Judge's (Akers) relation to the Clerk of Courts Jean (Judith). It seems they had a fling before his marriage, a fling that produced a daughter Lexi (Courtney Wottring). Lexi suddenly appears, claiming an affair with the judge, and wants to tell all to the press to destroy his career. Why? Something about getting even, except the Judge doesn't even know about her - he thought Jean had an abortion way back then. Of course, there's reconciliation, but not until we find out most of the jurors either had unwanted pregnancies or runaway daddies. Hmmm.. A theme revels itself! You'd consider the plot involved for a regular drama, and hopelessly involved for a musical, but "Jury" overcomes these issues with great song writing and even better singing.
Jean has the best numbers, such as "The Way He Used To Be" and "Is That All You Can See?" There's a great duet "When Fathers Are There" between Tommy (Rome Brown) and David (Zachary Ryan), and Jenny (Delaney Kahn) gets a few good licks in with "Just Another Face In The Crowd" and "She Could Have Been A Dancer" with Lexi. There were no weak voices, and this show should be a success on the strength of these good folks alone. Now, if they would just dump the silly setup about the narrator finding out he has to play the judge in the beginning of the show, and get some more varied crises in the cast, I think we may return a verdict of "Hit."