Shooting for the Moon

Girl On The Moon Review by Jen Bush

Book, Music and Lyrics by Judy Pancoast

Choreographed and Directed by Jocelyn Duford

Orchestrator-Tim Goss

Girl On The Moon  is a youth musical that takes place during the moon landing of 1969.   Marty, an aspiring astronaut is over the moon about this epic event.  She invites her best girlfriends over for a sleepover to watch it on television.   A proper sleepover must include  talking about boys and being harassed by annoying younger brothers which it did.  The girls gush over their copies of apopular teen magazine with teen idols like Neil Diamond gracing the pages.  Yes, I used Neil Diamond and teen idol in the same sentence.   it’s a period piece!  The girls also have some deep conversations about the implication of being female in terms of what careers are available to them during that time period.  The women’s liberation movement was just beginning.  Marty wants to do a moon walk of her own and Judy who is obsessed with teen heartthrob Bobby Sherman wants to be a deejay.  Some of the girls find these lofty goals ridiculous and impossible.  At the time it was the exception to the rule.  Women’s place was in the home.  Colette wants a husband, a white picket fence and 2.5 children which was the expectation of women at that time.  Sadly, Colette’s brother is M.I.A. in the Vietnam war which is also a topic the girls discuss.

Girl On The Moon  is a delightful endearing youth musical.   With women’s rights being a hot button topic now, this musical about a time period in the 60’s has relevance now.  It will serve to inspire a new generation of young ladies.  At times it’s a little sugary with lots of high-pitched singing but you can work around that.  With all the thorough attention to detail it is as much a history lesson as a show.

The show contains an abundance of references to trends and fads of the 60’s like gum wrapper jewelry and 45’s which also provide some funny moments.  At first, I thought that might be a hindrance to the target audience because they might not understand the references.  Then I realized, these shows will be performed in schools.  Schools are filled with opportunities for teachable moments and mini-lessons which could take place before the performances.  Twelve year old kids who were not alive in the 50’s flocked to a little film called Grease which became a worldwide phenomenon.  This show has the potential to be a sweet shared experience between generations.  If a child asks her grandmother what it was like to grow up in the 60’s she can take her to see this nostalgic musical.

The bright-eyed brilliant talented cast was made up of enthusiastic young ladies and a few fabulous gentlemen.  Everybody was ideally cast.  Samantha Autumn shined as bright as a full moon as Marty.  She was a lovely and effective leading lady.  Clara Edleman and Erin Lambertson as the folk singing twin sister duo of Jenny and Junie were folktastic with their sweet harmonies. Clara did a great job on guitar.  Colette Freetage portrayed the mature Colette with depth and substance.  Sarah Kate Barton brought a great deal of warmth and humor to the role of Judy.  Devin Landis will be landing a lot of theater roles with his incredible singing voice.  The rest of the cast consisting of Addie Skillman as Mrs. Mitchell, Annoying brothers Bobby and Jimmy played by Ethan Underhill and Ian Dolley, and ensemble players S.S. Blanco and Grace DeMillio all were wonderful and contributed positively to the performance.

The songs were catchy, upbeat and fun.  Some were more appropriately melancholy because of the nature of the subject matter.  You’ll all want to join the party after you hear Marty’s Having a Party.  Take a Long Walk and Little Brother were hilarious and relatable songs lamenting the woes of having an annoying sibling.  My favorite line was, “Go haunt a house with your scary face.”  Girl on the Moon (the song) and I’m Gonna Be On The Radio were other standouts.

This production took place over Zoom.  The production quality was superior.  Great care was taken to ensure everybody had a unique background.  The special effects and transitions were highly professional. 

Judy Pancoast has a sweet, funny, female empowering, topical gem on her hands.  May the show ride a moonbeam to success.

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