Blog: Review of Plymouth Playhouse’s Pop Up Musical

Plymouth Playhouse has brought something out of the ordinary to their stage – a quirky little show called Pop Up Musical! If you’re familiar with VH1’s Pop Up Video, you have an idea of how the production is staged. If not, imagine this: four performers belting out 24 Broadway hits while little bits of information "pop up" either on screens or on hand-written signs (flashed by the performers). Sounds rather tame but believe me, it’s hilarious!

Pop Up Musical Plymouth PlayhousePlymouth Playhouse has brought something out of the ordinary to their stage – a quirky little show called Pop Up Musical!

If you’re familiar with VH1’s Pop Up Video, you have an idea of how the production is staged. If not, imagine this: four performers belting out 24 Broadway hits while little bits of information "pop up" either on screens or on hand-written signs (flashed by the performers). Sounds rather tame but believe me, it’s hilarious!

It all started at the 2012 Minnesota Fringe festival where this production was a runaway hit. Creators Jennifer Eckes, Kevin Werner Hohlstein, Judi Gronseth, and Tim Holmly managed to take their one-hour show and turn it into a 2-hour show full of random jokes, interesting facts, tongue-in-cheek humor, and playful banter.

The show starts off with “There’s No Business like Show Business” from Annie Get Your Gun. While singing, the cast takes turns introducing the concept of using pop-ups throughout the show (example: “These are pop-ups… get used to it”). You definitely have to be paying attention because you have to read everything – if you miss an important one, you might miss the joke or jokes to follow.

The cast then takes the audience on a journey through old (and new) Broadway favorites. Numbers include selections from Guys and Dolls, Sound of Music, Chicago, Wicked, Rent, and West Side Story (just to name a few).  Did you know that Kristin Chenoweth wore a neck brace for a short time during her role as Glenda in Broadway’s Wicked? See… the audience learns fun facts like that, too!

I rather enjoyed the cast making fun of each other. My favorite was while singing “Tomorrow” from Annie, Jen was made fun of for having an Annie perm when she was a child. Pop-ups included, “It looked awful” and then a drawn Annie wig was placed behind her head.

By far my favorite song was “Circle of Life” from the Lion King. The cast was really in a groove by this point, prancing around the stage like wild animals (Kevin as a strange bird was laugh-out-loud hilarious) while pop-ups poked fun at popular culture in the background.

I have to honestly say I wasn’t quite sure how a play about pop-ups was going to pan out. After seeing the show I have to say – job well done! An interesting concept that translated well to a stage production. No wonder it was a hit at the Minnesota Fringe.

If you’d like to check out Pop Up Musical, it’s playing now through March 15th at Plymouth Playhouse. Tickets range from $22 - $39. We currently we have a coupon for BOGO free that’s valid through February 28th. Visit our website for more information.

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