Golf: The Musical
Music, Book and Lyrics by Michael Roberts
Directed by Christopher Scott; Musical direction by Ken Lundie
BOTTOM LINE: A light-hearted musical review that breezes by and makes you laugh out loud more than a few times.
If you are wondering why anyone would write a musical about golf, the top ten reasons are given to you in the first song. Suffice to say that creator Michael Roberts and director Christopher Scott have managed to make a show about golf entertaining and enjoyable. While it's certainly not Shakespeare, the cast of four along with musical director Ken Lundie take the audience on a two hour jaunt through the greens and over the sand traps covering every single angle of the sport. As the opening number says, they've got songs about golf, skits about golf and jokes about golf. SPOILER ALERT: The number one reason to write a show about golf? Ball jokes. Lots and lots of ball jokes.
Golf: The Musical plays much like a Saturday Night Live sketch, with each of the actors (Tom Gamblin, Lyn Philistine, Brian Runbeck and Christopher Sutton) portraying different characters throughout. There isn't really a plot since each song and skit stands on its own. Some of the numbers work better than others, but the strong cast is able to get laughs with pretty much anything that is given to them. The beauty of a show like this is if you don't like one scene, in two minutes there will be something completely different happening. It is also fun for the audience to see what character will arrive next.
All four of the performers have plenty of opportunities to stand out. Gamblin starts and ends the show and gets to showcase off his beautiful voice when singing "Beautiful Time" and also his funny side when he plays Bing Crosby along with Runbeck as a spot-on Bob Hope. The two do a parody of the Hope/Crosby On The Road pictures and throw one-liners back and forth making the audience laugh and entertaining themselves too. This was my favorite moment because some of it seemed so off the cuff that it was almost impossible to tell if it was scripted or not. It was reminiscent of the old Carol Burnette Show when Harvey Korman and Tim Conway would smirk at each other and the audience felt like they were in on the joke. Sutton brings down the house with a gospel style number about the holiness of Tiger Woods. Philistine, as the only woman in the show, gets a couple of knock out numbers, most notably "My Husband is Playing Around" as she laments her possibly philandering husband who spends more time on the links than with her.
The script is filled with references to current events and is probably updated every day. At the performance I saw, there was a joke about President Obama's busted lip that had happened only twenty-four hours before. Susan Boyle and Carl Paladino are also brought up keeping things timely. There is also an audience participation section involving a putting competition. There is a prize involved, so you may want to practice your putts before you get there. The show is light and silly with fart jokes and topical humor, but thanks to a strong cast, it is completely fulfilling. Do you have to be a golfer to get every single joke? Maybe it would be helpful to be familiar with duffers and yips, but it doesn't take away from funny lyrics, upbeat melodies and a strong cast.
(Golf: The Musical
plays at Midtown Theater at HA! Comedy Club 163 W. 46th St., through January 16, 2011. Performances are Saturdays at 2PM and Sundays at 3PM and 7PM. Tickets are $45 and are available at ovationtix.com
or by calling 212-352-3101 or 866-811-4111. For more show info visit golfthemusical.com