The Yellow Wood

Michelle Elliott (book/lyrics) and Danny Larson (music/lyrics) began writing this rock musical at the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Program six years ago. Since then, the show has been through multiple rewrites and various incarnations. I haven’t seen any previous production, but still I’m convinced this one is the best. Elliot and Larson have clearly worked through the problems that consistently plague new musicals--the songs are never extraneous, the dialogue and lyrics are concise, and at 90 minutes, it clips along without ever feeling loose. Daniel Berryman stars as Adam, a half-Caucasian, half-Korean high school student with ADD. His parents (Bob DeDea and Heather Apellanes) and his sister (Diana Huey) are convinced that hell will break loose if Adam goes off his Ritalin. Adam doesn’t buy it, and the musical follows him on a day without medication. The story is still a work in progress; the commentary on high schools filled with incompetent teachers and overmedicated students tends to be heavy-handed, pushing aside an equally interesting storyline: Adam’s journey coming to terms with his Korean heritage. Yet this doesn’t diminish the production’s overall entertainment value. Director Brandon Ivie couldn’t have put together a stronger cast, whose voices are perfect for the energetic score. BRENT ARONOWITZ

July 23-26, 8 p.m.; July 28-Aug. 1, 8 p.m., 2010

 
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