Cutting Edge Theater presents A...My Name is Alice, September 28-October 13, 2018. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm.
”A. . . MY NAME IS ALICE” is a delightful new musical revue consisting of 20 songs and sketches written by many hands and performed by five fizzy song-and-dance women. The subject of Alice is also women – but the show’s feminism is worn lightly. If anything, women are as likely to be satirical targets as men. In one wicked number, ”Emily, the M.B.A.,” a female business executive’s raised consciousness crumbles when she engineers a corporate takeover of a company called Womantronics Inc. In the evening’s one running gag, a woman poet recites a cycle of self-martyring verses – all of which contain the accusatory refrain, "He did it/ he did it."
Many of the songs are theater songs in the best sense: the music and lyrics are so sophisticated that they can carry the weight of one-act plays. A song called "Friends" recounts the entire history of a friendship that sustains two women from high school through marriage and old age; another, "Sisters," provides a similar account of two women whose lifelong sibling rivalry at last reaches a bittersweet resolution in a lonely apartment in Queens.
But even the show’s flat-out comic turns can gain in complexity as they go along. "Honeypot," a number in which a blues singer seeks help from a psychologist, is at once a parody of modern sexual therapy and a devilish explication of the disguised erotic content of old-time blues lyrics. "Trash" begins as a parody of pulp 'women’s fiction' and ends up dramatizing the disappointed life of an office receptionist who chases after the fantasies propagated by Judith Krantz.