|Life is pandemonium at the Lyric Stage with the cast of "Putnam County."|
Of course, even in the best of hands, there's only so far the relentless quirk of Putnam County can take you. (We're not talking South Pacific here.) And director Terrell has unwisely decided against an intermission - which makes the stasis of the situation, when added to the relative lack of variation in composer William Finn's clever but repetitive songs, begin to feel almost as long as - well, an actual spelling bee. Still, Rachel Sheinkin's book is always wittily observant of its white, New Age milieu (no Tea Partiers in this crowd, that's for sure). And we always have the reliable Will McGarrahan to distract us as the slightly-weird vice principal with the deadpan definitions and sample sentences, along with the appealing Kerri Jill Garbis as his perky foil. Rounding out the "grown-up" cast, De'Lon Grant likewise made a believably pissed-off parolee doing community service as a juicebox-equipped "grief counselor."
If the adults were admirable, however, the kids were even cooler; each seemed just about perfectly cast and delivered ace characterizations and vocals (although sometimes I wasn't sure I could bear any more adorability from Leaf Coneybear). So here's to Sam Simahk (the unfortunately tumescent Chip), Lexie Fennell Frare (a super-sensitive Logainne), Michael Borges (an aggressively vulnerable Leaf), Daniel Vito Siefring (a surprisingly nasty William Bar-fay), Lisa Yuen (a sad class-superstar Marcy), and Krista Buccellato (a sweetly longing Olive): you guys are as good as Boston musical theatre gets. I wasn't sure we needed another trip to Putnam County, but you made it more than worthwhile.