Matt Mitchell, Michelle Siracusa. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

As you enter the theater there is two four feet high square boxes/stages. The one on the extreme left is the bedroom/studio of the lead character SAM (Matt Mitchell) .  He is a painter so of course there are samples of his work all over the walls. The one extreme right has a more complex set. There is two twin beds on either side of the room. Two chairs separated by a small night stand. A small desk sits at the foot on one of the twin beds. This we find out later is the college dorm room of the female lead character SUZANNA (Michelle Siracusa ) .  Upstage is another square box/stage area. There is a chair and table like you would see in a diner on the center of the box/stage. There is also another chair down in front of the box/stage. A beautiful yellow colored curtain frames the up center box/stage area. Behind the extreme left box/stage are musicians softly playing the cello as the audience enters.

Clint Hromsco, Michelle Siracusa. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

The musical starts with the lead character SAM (Matt Mitchell) holding a bottle of liquor and singing RIGHT PAST THAT DOOR in his room. Then a hospital bed is pushed out stage center and SUZANNA (Michelle Siracusa)  is in the bed.  No words were spoken it was a flash forward.  Next we are celebrating SUZANNA’s (Siracusa)  7thbirthday.  She has two suitors GEORGE (Reuben E. Holye IV) the son of the owner of the bank where SUZANNA’s (Siracusa)  father works at. The father is played by Brandon Grimes.  And SAM (Mitchell) who brings her  a beautiful portrait.  Next  SUZANNA  (Siracusa) has grown up to a teen ager and she is playing with her friends but SAM (Mitchell) comes around and he is a real outcast because of him being a strange orphan artist. SUZANNA (Siracusa)  defends him.  Next we see the love birds in SAM’s (Mitchell) room where SUZANNA (Siracusa)questions SAM (Mitchell) about the stories being told about him, does he use drugs, drink,  or is really strange? He reassures her that he is normal  with the song  TRUE ART  She responds by singing HOLD ME . He makes her his official girlfriend which she is very happy about.  They kiss for the first time and sing a duet HOLD ME. SUZANNA (Siracusa) says she is not ready for sex.  They break out in the Title Song of the Musical: YOUR NAME ON MY LIPSwhich is an up-tempo piece that is a big crowd pleaser.  Next  SUZANNA (Siracusa)  moves to college where things start to change. SAM (Mitchell)  starts to hear less and less from SUZANNA (Siracusa)  as she is seduced by college life, the whole wide world at her feet and a new guy named PHIL ( Clint Hromsco).  The question becomes will SAM (Mitchell) lose SUZANNA (Siracusa) to the world and PHIL (Clint Hromsco) or will he win  her back. A further complication is that SAM (Mitchell) has a new female admirer who wants him for herself.

Brandon Grimes (as Father), Eric Evers (as Mother), Michelle Siracusa, Matt Mitchell. Photo by Jonathan Slaff.

Eric B. Sirota has created a musical that hits more than the expected conflicts of plot and love of two young lovers a la Romeo and Juliet. The twists and turns keep you on your seat and the ending breaks your heart.  His songs are very Andrew Lloyd Webber like; classically influenced Pop ballards. The only thing that stands out is that all of them follow the same sounds and structure. Experimenting with  other Genres and styles of music for more variety for the audiences ear.  The cast is more than satisfyingly played with stand outs. SAM (Mitchell), SUZANNA (Siracusa), GEORGE (HOYLE IV) and FANTASY SUZANNA (Aja Downing).  The direction was top notch as was the choreography by Gerald vanHeerden and Maria Torres respectively.

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