nytheatre.com review by Andrea Somberg
Like its title, David Sisco and Lorene Phillips’s new musical revue,
Sopranos!: Opera for the New Generation!, tends to over-punctuate,
particularly when it comes to the laughs. While many of the short
vignettes—operatic renditions of everything from pop songs to HBO’s
"Sopranos" series—start off as amusing, the jokes that bring chuckles at
the beginning of the scenes have lost most of their impact by the end.
August 15, 2002
There’s not much of a plot to Sopranos!—the music and humor are supposed to carry the audience through the hour and forty-five minute performance. Sopranos Rebecca Todd Bixler, Lisa Neubauer, Ilya Speranza, Rebecca Comerford, and Jennifer Winn uphold their end of the bargain, hitting all of those very high notes with enthusiasm and style. JB Becton, as the narrator, is also a very enthusiastic performer. In fact, the enthusiasm throughout the play runs so high that at times I felt it was just as over-punctuated as the jokes. Facial expressions, voices, gestures—all are larger-than-life as the actors try to wring every drop of humor from their roles.
There are some amusing scenes in Sopranos!—I enjoyed the PBS mockumentary numbers, especially the Mariah Carey and Julie Andrews skits. The HBO television spoof also has its moments, including a lively duet by Dino (Ilya Speranza) and Gavin (Lisa Neubauer).
This is a spirited performance, and, if you like opera, it might be worth your while to swing by and take a look. See Sopranos!, but keep in mind that sometimes in opera a note can be held onto for too long. Unfortunately, as is demonstrated here, so too can a joke.