We’re in TV talent show territory in this interesting new musical by Danielle E Moore, which ran at the FringeArts festival in Philadelphia in September and now heads for a one-night stream at the Rogue Theatre Festival (New York) on 12 December.
Reggie, Max, Hallie and KC are all contestants in the Crossover contest, but fate (or fix) pushes them together as an initially mismatched girl group. KC is from music royalty, Hallie a conservative country girl, Reggie has trust issues, and Max is happy in her skin.
Their musical styles are all viable and valid, and as the rounds progress, they start to gel. Love shows its head, as does blackmail, and the contest may not be what is appears to be, with that “four way tie” conveniently voted in over social media.
There’s a bad guy (of course) and a guardian angel allowing the girls to battle through to a resolution that is right for them. On the way the songs are catchy and delivered with style and energy.
All four performers: Chelsea Cylinder (who plays KC and also co-produces with Moore); Boris Danberry (Max); Taylor J Mitchell (Reggie) and Ali Walker (Hallie) have pleasing voices and personalities. Over the near two hour running time (which never drags) we get to know the woman behind the video window.
Rounding off the cast are Chris Murphy Smith, Donovan Lockett, and Annie Fang, and the piece is ably directed by Amanda Pasquini. Crossover sends up the fickleness of fame, fandom, as well as presenting a positive LGBTQIA message.
I loved the idea of “no labels” and a positive spin on a gay girl group. The differences between the voices of the performers is also well-defined. Danberry in particularly brings a vulnerable energy to their portrayal of Max’s creativity and Walker’s sweet reticence is perfect for Hallie.
I was drawn to Max and Reggie’s tentative exploration of their attraction both through chat and music, and intrigued by KC’s relationship with her mother the guitar queen. If Jack the lad is a bit one-note and obvious as the only competition in the show, Chris Murphy Smith makes him eminently hissable.
My thanks to Chelsea Cylinder for providing me with access to the press screener for this show.