Carvajal Wears Contacts

green-eyes-playNormally a musical without a book would represent a work-in-progress, but this is not the case with Green Eyes. Although this new “boy meets girl” love story does not shoot for the moon, it hits what it aims dead-center.

Making its New York debut in this year’s Fringe Festival, Green Eyes tells a sweet and simple love story using only song and dance, no dialog. It is a basic story about two twenty-something lovers who meet, fall in love, have a fleeting relationship, face conflicts, and ultimately split up. Brian Mazzaferri’s score moves along quickly, at times reminiscent of Rent, with a couple of little gems tucked in along the way. This gives the piece a firm backbone, well complemented by a very competent five-piece orchestra that plays on stage, but the true strength of this production is in its performers and choreography.

Celina Carvajal has the ability to tell entrancing stories with a single facial expression and a voice designed to make you sit up and listen. There is no mistaking this Broadway veteran's professional background, and I sincerely look forward to seeing her work again, which is inevitable. Nick Blaemire, composer of the ill-fated Glory Days, plays opposite Carvajal. Blaemire strains in his singing some but is overall well suited for his role and remains likeable even when his character takes actions contrary to the general desire of the audience. Together, Carvajal and Blaemire act out the story through song, leaving the rest of the narrative to be expressed through dance.

Melissa Bloch and Ryan Watkinson give a masterful execution of Lizzie Leopold’s inspired choreography. Leopold couldn’t have possibly asked more of her dancers as they weave with power and beauty through the story being told, giving it a greater depth than what the songs themselves can create. The dance element in this piece really helps develop another dimension in both the story and characters and is one of its strongest features.

Green Eyes is not life-changing, but it is a thoroughly pleasant way to pass an hour watching the blossoming and withering of an everyday-sort of love story, the kind that means so much to the two involved but often goes unnoticed by outsiders. In short, the kind of love stories that most of us have known in our own lives. Furthermore, this writer applauds Mazzaferri for opting out on the happy ending that we have all come to expect these days. - C. J. Thom

cj_thom

Mr. Thom lives in New York City and walks dogs, writes plays, and loves dissecting pop culture.

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