Everybody has a fat ass: for some it’s a physical aspect of their body composition, for others it’s the emotional baggage they carry in their minds and in their hearts. Then there are those who have a bit of both – the issues of weight and the stigma attached to it are at the core of Fat Asses The Musical, currently playing at the Theater For the New City, located in the East Village, for a limited run from now through May 31st, music and lyrics by Peter Zachari and Damon Maida, book by Peter Zachari.
[Brief Disclaimer: Once again, for the sake of full disclosure, I must state that Peter is a good friend of mine, having first met him two years ago when I saw Parker and Dizzy’s Fabulous Journey to the End of the Rainbow at the New York International Fringe Festival, of which he had not only written, but had also directed and starred. I am also good friends with cast member (and choreographer) Joey Mirabile, who was also in Parker and Dizzy, so my thoughts and musings may not be as objective as in previous blogs, and this is the first time I’m writing a blog for a professional production created by friends I know (though I do hope this will not be the last time, as I do have other friends who are aspiring playwrights.]
This musical revolves around Margaux, Candy, Lacey and Dustine, four overweight women ridiculed and rejected by those around them, who just want to be acknowledged and appreciated for who they are regardless of their size. They decide to make their voices heard by focusing their sights on [fictional] fashion magazine Gaunt and holding its editor Meredith, and her assistant Foster hostage to spread their message. Secrets and plot twists abound and are revealed before all loose ends are resolved, and each finds their own inner peace for themselves. The production was fantastic, with sparse yet effective set design, and inventive choreography. The score was catchy with just the right mix of innuendo (and some profanity) and pop culture references, full of big, brassy showstoppers such as “Check Here”, as well as tender, heartfelt ballads such as “Loving You Is a Dying Art”.
The cast was astounding, bring the right amount and balance of sassiness and emotion to their roles. Central to the ensemble were the quartet of “Fat Asses”: Heather Lee Anderson as naive and non-confrontational Candy, Jane Aquilina as combative, no-nonsense Dustine, Kelly Teal Goyette as world-weary and put upon Margaux, and Itanza Wooden as sassy, brassy Lacey. Rounding out the cast is Caitlin McGinty as Meredith, Joey Mirabile as Foster, and Elise Castle as various other roles, all of whom brought such energy and heart in their performances.
I thoroughly enjoyed this show for its originality, a somewhat dying art in theater these days, as most musicals that end up on Broadway and off-Broadway are adaptations of other source material or jukebox musicals and having at its center full-bodied women who are complex characters who are not there to be the butt (pun fully intended) of any jokes. Thoughtful and entertaining, Fat Asses the Musical has the potential to have a life after this off-off Broadway run, especially with such a fantastic score and message of letting go of one’s baggage, whether it be physical or emotional.
For more information on Fat Asses the Musical, please visit their website: http://www.fatassesthemusical.com/