The Cultch and Musical Stage Company
do you want what i have got? a craigslist cantata by Veda Hille, Bill Richardson, and Amiel Gladstone

WHEN & WHERE February 5 - 7, 2021; Feb 5 & 6 at 4.30pm & 7.30pm, Feb 7 at 12pm | live-streamed online from The Cultch

Director Amiel Gladstone Assistant Director Anjela Magpantay Musical Director Veda Hille Choreography Amanda Testini Stage Manager Kelly Barker
Design Consultant John Webber

Cast Meaghan Chenosky, Josh Epstein, Kayvon Khoshkam, Amanda Sum, Andrew Wheeler

Musicians Veda Hille, piano Barry Mirochnick, drums

Reviewer John Jane

do you want what i have got? a craigslist cantata started off as part of the PuSh Festival back in 2009. Its lengthy, lower case title is designed to attract attention in much the same way as the classified ads do on the Craigslist internet site. The show is a genuine ensemble piece, and yet might also be described as an assemblage of solo performances. Veda Hille’s musical creation barely adheres to the structural form of a cantata, but I like the idea.

Amanda Sum gets this revue style show off to a hilarious start with “Bus boyfriend, I want to smell you again” about a stranger she only ever sees on a crowded bus. Many of the songs take inspiration from ads in the Missed Connections section. “Saw you once and I’d like to meet you” ads work well in the show’s physically distanced performances, though not all interpretations are as innocent as Sum’s. Andrew Wheeler in an ill-fitting sweater and camera strapped around his neck is intentionally creepy with “I’d like to take out to dinner.”

Meaghan Chenosky, who perhaps possesses the most tuneful voice among the quintet of performers, is delightfully tongue-in-cheek trying to offload her children-sized guillotine. Fortunately, it had been recently cleaned after only being used once. Later, Chenosky arguably has the most amusing song with “Don’t Call,” as she places an ad for a new room-mate then lists severe restrictions on who should apply.

Andrew Wheeler, in yet another droll characterization is eager to unburden himself of a hairpiece that attracts more animals than members of the opposite gender. But Craigslist is apparently not just for those who selling unwanted items or looking for someone that will make life more interesting. There are ads with a pseudo-religious message like Amanda Sum’s “Do you feel lonely or empty?”

“Did someone see me today (at Starbucks)” aches of desperation. Chenosky and Sum deliver poignancy in deference to those who need to be noticed. Josh Epstein and Andrew Wheeler reprise the song later, but with a more sinister bent. The final song “I was the one, you were the one” closes the show on a bittersweet note with cast members donning face masks before coming together on the Historic Theatre stage.

craigslist cantata successfully adapts to a live streaming format due to the commitment of the performers and the creativity of the production team.

© 2021 John Jane