A new musical about a mother and her teenage daughter uprooting their lives and moving to Iowa. More…
Mom found her soul-mate on Facebook, and he lives in Iowa. So Becca says goodbye to her beloved math teacher, bulimic best friend, neighborhood pony and her mildly deficient teenage life, and she follows her wayward mother to a new, uncharted beginning. But in this fanciful, absurdist, and intoxicating musical play from the imagination of Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond nothing can prepare them for what they’ll find.
"Complete with stylized modern song and dance, prancing pony-men, and text that goes so fast that you feel like you're at the Daytona 500 of the theatre, this play is a mental exercise that leaves the audience nothing but speechless and loving every second of it...It is refreshing, entertaining and constantly presents the audience with moments that literally made multiple audience members simultaneously say aloud 'What?!'...GO SEE THIS. Words cannot capture this gem to society, but seeing it ... Full Review
"If Schwartz, Almond, and director Ken Rus Schmoll are aiming at anarchy, they’ve hit the bull’s eye. And, if they’re aiming for laughs, they haven’t done so badly either. But not every narrative ploy pays off...Occasionally 'Iowa' loses its direction, but the detours tend to be short-lived...Mostly it’s just fun: a carnival of free association frivolity of the highest order." Full Review
"Jenny Schwartz's disorienting, delightful new musical, 'Iowa', is a national meditation disguised as family drama. This dystopian reverie imagines a loopy, frenetic America — one that would give any reasonable person emotional whiplash...The multiplying plot twists eventually make it tough to follow Becca's story (and to care). But 'Iowa' is never predictable — and its strangeness is purposeful, offering a real warning about the surreal world around us." Full Review
"It is hard to know what to make of 'iow@.' It is a seriocomic fantasy farce about growing up emotionally, but that definition is both too broad and too narrow for this trippy little musical. I loved it, but I would say a good 40% of the audience seemed thoroughly unconvinced...'iow@' is a crazy ass patchwork of a show. And, almost until the end, it manages to keep the plates spinning." Full Review
"Iowa’s satirical cartoonishness is captured splendidly in Ken Rus Schmoll’s staging, and the cast of eight sustains a remarkable tone of committed absurdism. Smart, off-angle pop art songs add to the abundance of pleasures. 'Heaven and earth do not touch one another,' sings a new mother in a lullaby. 'But jump, jump, jump, jump up and try.' 'Iowa' delights in taking just such leaps." Full Review
"Jenny Schwartz combines a quirky sensibility with a marvelous facility for language. Her characters speak in riffs and arias...About 2/3 of the way through the play, Becca and Sandy reach Iowa. The mood abruptly shifts and, for me, the play lost much of its vitality. I did not care for the Iowa scenes, but they did not seriously diminish my appreciation for what came before... Schwartz has an original voice and it was good to see her work again." Full Review
"At its core, Schwartz and Almond have a touching coming-of-age story that gets lost in a whirlwind of nonsense. The nonsense is not without thought or purpose, but there is nothing in Iowa that draws a clear (or even hazy) line from the inanity to the sincere...Without a focused voice, there can be no confidence in the journey at hand — even as Schwartz and Almond fervently assert that we really ought to give 'Iowa' a try." Full Review
"The Wikipedia whirlpool: Look up one minor thing and before you know it you’ve strayed about as far away as possible, drowning in a sea of too much information. If you thought this phenomenon could not possibly have a theatrical equivalent, Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond are determined to prove you wrong...Through their entropy-embracing lack of clarity that makes a Wikipedia whirlpool look well ordered, they have all but ensured the necessary solace is unlikely to be found." Full Review
"Aiming for the endearingly zany, the new musical 'Iowa' overshoots the runway, landing somewhere in the vicinity of complete inanity. This oppressively antic show plays like a series of songs, scenes and sketches with little connecting tissue...this show is so besotted with its self-conscious absurdity that it frustrates any real emotional engagement. “Oklahom@” this ain’t." Full Review
"'Iowa' is like spaghetti. Throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks seems to be the approach in this abstract play with music. Unfortunately, little sticks...One hundred minutes later, 'Iowa' just seems weird for weirdness’ sake." Full Review
"'Iow@' — which I’d like to retitle “Why? Oh! Ugh”...There’s not a light bulb in the socket of this play...Almond’s score is dismally droll, dragging the show’s pace through the mud and rarely offering the actors a heightened sense of emotion or deliverability to further the story. They give it a champion effort...Unfortunately none of these efforts can salvage a score in search of a melody nor a plot truncated by its own flailing appendages." Full Review
"'I thought I had something to say, but I don’t,' says a character in “Iowa.” The same could be said of Jenny Schwartz’s new play with music, which strains so hard for whimsy, it practically gives itself a hernia.. The game cast goes through their wacky paces with admirable conviction. Even so, a winter in Iowa the state would be preferable to sitting through 'Iowa' the show." Full Review
"OK, folks, I give up. If this was a brilliant, groundbreaking piece of musical theater, it left me totally cold...'Iowa' just throws stuff at the audience with no sense of coherence. I just wondered what drug Schwartz and Almond were on when they concocted this. Maybe I'm just too much of a stodgy traditionalist to get what this show was doing or even to care. I would have walked out of it if I could have gracefully." Full Review
See it if you have no choice. This was one of the worst productions I've seen in my life...and that includes school plays. I found it truly awful.
Don't see it if you can avoid it. I have to say it again: truly awful.