Musical plays adapted from poems, much less banned poems, are hen's-tooth rare. Musical plays about parties? Not so much.
Andrew Lippa's "The Wild Party" fuses those two occurrences from opposite ends of the spectrum, taking a narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March as its inspiration, adding a healthy dose of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" for good measure. Lippa's play wowed some and vexed others in its 2000 debut Off-Broadway, then went on to the 2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The basic premise, set during the Roaring Twenties, is simple. Vaudeville actors, and lovers, Queenie and Burrs invite Manhattan's cutting edge to their apartment for drinks and all-night revelry. Both aim to make each other jealous. Queenie succeeds first, wooing a man named Black. She ends up falling in love. Burrs' jealously becomes a rage, and the end is not pretty.
It's Lippa's music and songs weaved throughout the proceedingsranging from jazz to gospel to, of course, vaudevillethat make this a one-of-a-kind theater event. Don't let it pass you by, March 29-April 8 at Studio 115.