The Girl, the Grouch and the Goat at Chance Theater

Composer and lyricist Mark Hollman has a thing for water management. This time around, though, his new musical, The Girl, The Grouch,and the Goat, with a book by Jack Helbig, does not focus on a pay-to-pee storyline (there is a quick passing reference to Hollman’s Tony award-winning Urinetown that fans of that show will pick up on).

Set in Greece and based on Menander’s Dyskolos, this new musical, which was presented as a workshop production in Thousand Oaks, California in 2007 and is currently enjoying its West Coast Premiere at The Chance Theatre, is all about a pay-to-drink storyline with a tongue in cheek spirit that is sure to become a staple in family entertainment.

The Girl, The Grouch, and the Goat centers on Clemnon (Glenn Koppel), also known as the Grouch, who is taking advantage of the dire drought situation in a village on the outskirts of Athens. He is the only villager with a working well and he charges an outrageous amount for use of his water supply while keeping all the available men from his beautiful daughter, Myrrhine (Brooke Cannons).

As we all know with such whimsical musicals, things never go as planned and so we find that his daughter has fallen for the wrong boy (at least in the eyes of her father): rich boy Xander (Armando Gutierrez).

The Greek Gods, including a meddling Aphrodite (Jessie McLean) get involved, Xanthippe (Eloise Coppersmith), the wealthy widow and mother to Xander sends her incompetent slaves (John Paul Karliak and David LaMarr) on a wild goat (that’s right, a goat, not a goose) chase, half the cast ends up at the bottom of a well, and by the end of the evening, all is mended.

No doubt a less bawdy nod to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” and a bit of a departure from the more satirical “Urinetown” to a more family-friendly conventional musical, The Girl, The Grouch, and the Goat is a solid win across the board. Coppersmith and Koppel play off of each other in classic rivalry.

Notable in her role as Xander’s younger sister, Daria, Sarah Pierce is the stand out youngest cast member with an already set flair for showmanship. LaMarr easily has the comedic timing and deadpan delivery that can stop a show.

Oanh Nguyen, again, delivers a tight, fun production of a new musical and proves that with the right set (impressive rotating well, designed by John Robinson), costumes (by Cassandra Stone), and simple choreography by Kelly Todd, anything is possible on a smaller scale with big satisfying results.

%d bloggers like this: