The new musical Real Men loosely follows the lives of three middle-aged males, dealing with the typical middle-age woes of the modern man. Though at its core there is a story, this is more a series of vignettes than anything else. Seamlessly weaving from one man to the next, each scene is a demonstration of any one of the many impediments which said man faces on a day to day basis—lack of sexual activity, frustration with wife/child, et al., or a variation on the internal struggle with the “id,” which in this case always come back to the quest to define that sheer essence of being a man.
Clearly a passion project, two of the three male actors of the cast are the previously named co-creators—Paul Louis and Nick Santa Maria. Both play their roles with comedic expertise, and as is evidenced by the quick-witted dialogue, these analogies and metaphors for male strife are derived from a very real place. Rounding out the cast is Stephen G. Anthony, who—thanks to a razor sharp sense of comedy—fits right in.
Originally performed in a cabaret style environment at the Laurie Beechman Theatre but now at New World Stages, the comedy in the show varies from ironic to obscene, with the latter being preferred. Song after song brim with perversity, and for the most part the witty lyrics succeed in staying fresh. For a show with such specific subject material, the humor is varied and—as a credit to the writers—there is little repetition between jokes.
As with any comedy: pace is everything. Fittingly, director David Arisco manages the humor with a fine-toothed comb. Subtle when needed and obnoxious but with purpose, this show is filled with laughs from beginning to end. Backed by the wit of the book and lyrics and an unapologetic cast, Real Men sticks to what it knows best and delivers 90 minutes of gut busting fun.
Real Men: The Musical (reopened December 10, 2015 – January 2, 2016)
New World Stages, 340 W. 50th Street, in Manhattan
For tickets, visit http://www.RealMentheMusical.com
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission