Book by Keythe Farley
Music by Lori Scarlett and John Ballinger
Lyrics by Lori Scarlett
The cleverness of Fucking Hipsters! begins and ends with one of the first lines of the show: “We’re called Mark Twain’s Moustache. That’s because we smell like cigars and we sit on your face.” That’s pretty much the one and only laugh there is in the strained, unfunny, and predictable (if admittedly structurally pretty solid) book of this musical about an indie band from Williamsburg, written by a couple of Angelenos who may have never actually been to Brooklyn or even listened to indie music. (Farley cowrote the book to Bat Boy, but I guess Brian Flemming was the funny one.) Scarlett and Ballinger’s score has some enjoyable stuff in it (the opening “Mean It (But I Don’t) But I Do” is super-catchy, and it’s followed by a sweet ditty called “Hypothetical Girl,” which could easily find life as a cabaret standard), but too much of it just made me wish it were written by Joe Iconis or someone else who would actually put the earnestness and the irony in the right places. The cast is basically likable, particularly Emily Borromeo, huge voiced and sexy as anything as the girl on the run from a cartoonishly horrible life in Boulder who comes thisclose to breaking up the moustache. (And if you can’t figure out where this is going…) John Carrafa directs, apparently. He should stop doing that.
SCORE: 3 out of 10
Book and Lyrics by Chance McClain
Music by Chance McClain, Frank Bullington, Kevin Ryan, and Bryan Ford
Kissless, an import from the wilds of Houston, sort of defies me. It’s kind of endlessly lovable, despite not really being very good—there’s a definite amateurish charm to this sort of West Side Story-ish tale times two (there are four warring factions rather than two—jocks, goths, nerds, and…rednecks?), and there’s a scary amount of talent on display in the largely teenage cast (seriously, if we don’t hear fabulous things from Teresa Zimmermann and Tyler Galindo, I’d be amazed) There’s about a third of a really good show in here (maybe as much as half of one), but it’s so wildly uneven that its’ hard to tell. And then there’s the literally baffling ending, where after two hours of goofy comedy we are suddenly treated to the death of a main character. And then a dance number! (Go read what Gil Varod wrote about it. He spent more time on it than I will, ‘cause I have to get up in the morning for work.)
SCORE: Somewhere between a 3 and a 5. Which isn’t necessarily a 4. But let’s go with 4.
Book by Lonny Price and Kitt Lavoie (based, uncredited, on the novel Sing, Brat, Sing by Rene Fulop-Miller)
Music by Grant Sturiale
Lyrics by Grant Sturiale and Lonny Price (and Ellen Fitzhugh)
This one’s been around a long time—it was first mentioned on Playbill back in 2000—but until recently Ellen Fitzhugh was the lyricist. (She disappeared from the creative team a month or so ago, although she's still in the "Special Thanks" box in the program.) And I’m pretty sure that a fair amount of her work is still there. But whatever. It’s all very smooth and well performed, as one might expect with Price codirecting (with frequent collaborator Matt Cowart) and a ridiculous cast made up of Jenn Colella, Jill Paice, Louis Hobson, Steve Rosen, Jim Walton, Megan Lawrence, Adam Heller, Jennifer Laura Thompson, and Stacie Morgain Lewis (and the less recognizable but no less impressive Eric Leviton and Helen-Jean Arthur). It’s also tremendously dull and lacking in just about any sort of point or drama—will the four-year-old musical prodigy stop being a spoiled brat? (Hint: yes, but not until the final curtain.) I wish it were better. I wish it were anything, actually. Kiki Baby isn't terrible—Sturiale, for his part, can always be counted on to provide some interesting music—it’s just not really anything at all.
SCORE: 3 out of 10