The Saturday evening premiere of the musical The Man in the Ceiling received thunderous applause and a standing ovation at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor on Saturday June 3. The collaborations of Jules Feiffer (author of the book The Man in the Ceiling) along with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa (Rent), and director Jeffrey Seller (who produced Hamilton) bring an innovative and retro dynamic to this bold musical production. The stage design and lighting along with a live orchestra adds a unique panache to this show.
Young Jonah Broscow stars as Jimmy Jibbett. His energy and honest talent are both endearing yet powerful as he finds his way as a boy cartoonist.
Lippa (besides creating the music and lyrics for the show) stars as Jimmy’s Uncle Lester, a man struggling with a failed music career. I particularly enjoyed his musical number, Mr. Floperoo in the second act.
Erin Kommer, who played Jimmy’s sister, Lisi, attacked her role with enormous energy and showed why she has a wonderful future on the stage and beyond.
A big part of the show was the tension between father and son. Danny Binstock, who plays Jimmy’s father, handled the script’s delicate balance between love and disappointment with some timely and important dramatic lines along with comical songs. Whereas Jimmy’s mother, played by Nicole Parker, had a more understanding nature. Ms. Parker delivers some powerful singing along with a stunning stage presence.
Lastly, it is Brett Gray as Charlie Beemer, Jimmy’s friend, who surprisingly steals many scenes with his power in delivering his lines. He too has a big future on the stage.
This show is complex in how it handles emotions, desires, needs and struggles talented children must face and must overcome when going against the traditional paths parents have mapped out for their children’s futures. The show weaves through this minefield with wit, lyric and song.
Accolades to set designer David Korens and Howell Binkley for the lighting design. Will Van Dyke’s musical supervision and orchestrations are superb. Both Ryan Fielding (music director) and Spencer Liff (choreographer) are also to be applauded for their effort. Jules Feiffer and Daniel Brodie mastered the “Projection Designs,” that played an active role in telling the story.
The Man in the Ceiling is a show that will stir emotions, make you laugh and in the end leave you gleeful.
Tickets range from $40 to $153, and the production can be seen at Bay Street Theater until Sunday, June 25.
Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 631-725-9500 or visit www.baystreet.org.