The cast of Most Likely To in the Midtown International Theatre Festival.
BOTTOM LINE: Most Likely To is a silly romp revue transversing the landscape of high school stereotypes as students vie for the prize of "Best All Around."
With a rocky start and a muddled ending, the most enjoyable parts of Most Likely To fall in the middle of the show. Written by Michael Tester and directed by Abbe Gail Gross, the plot and general structure of the script are very weak, and all but one of the ensemble numbers lack energy, but within its framework Most Likely To provides opportunities for some wonderful vaudeville-esque solo and duet performances.
Jesse Zeidman all but steals the show with her brassy humor and Kathy Griffin facials in the role of Rosie, the bitter but determined drama uncastable. Even the stale jokes grow wings with Zeidman's delievery. It's no wonder she comes back to work the stage alone intermittently through to the end.
Similarly, Christopher Hlinka is given the kitsch role of the tired, stereotyped token gay chorus student, but from that wilted whimsy he makes fresh farce, growing the humor as the musical progresses.
Notable mention should also go to Gina Marie Bilardi, or more importantly her bloomered Annie costume. She wears it in the "Ode to the Drama Queens" - the one group number that lived up to its potential.
"Ode to Drama Queens" exemplifies the success of the Most Likely To material. The costumes look like Halloween Express had a going-out-of-business sale, but in the best, most hilarious possible way. And each individual actor owns his or her schtick and sells it to the back of the house. It is the best and brightest of ensemble moments for this superlative cast, and shows what could be in the other more diminished show-stoppers like "Screamgirls," a number which falls drastically short of filling the space or conveying humor.
Most Likely To is the fluffiest of fluff, and sometimes falls more on the derivative side of spoof than the clever side, but this production has gems of comic acting, strong young singers, and some catchy tunes.
(BroadwayClubhouse.com's Most Likely To plays through July 28th at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row, 410 W. 42nd Street. Tickets are $15-$18 and can be purchased online at www.midtownfestival.org, by phone at 866-811-4111, or at the box office one hour before show time.)