By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent
A pop star with his first number one hit finds fame a bit too tough to handle and decides to skip out on his tour and return to his Midwestern roots in The Song of the Summer from prolific playwright Lauren Yee.
The show opened Saturday at the San Francisco Playhouse for in-person performances and is available as well to be streamed on demand through August 14.
Coming off the successes of Cambodian Rock Band, Great Leap and King of the Yees, this latest offering from the award-winning playwright deals with teenage angst, self confidence or the lack of it, and the paths we take that lead us to where we are today.
Jeremy Kahn plays Robbie, an insecure music sensation opposite his teenage crush, Monica Ho as Tina. Anne Darragh as Mrs. C plays Robbie’s childhood piano teacher and Reggie D. White as Joe is Robbie’s manager.
Tina is a self-confident and aggressive woman with a few secrets that have unraveled her life. The return of Robbie to their town after a 12 year absence bubbles old emotions to the surface and unwraps her life.
In Robbie, we see the source of his insecurity- after all he’s a four and Tina’s a seven.
Mrs. C is a loving music teacher who long thought of Robbie as her best student and puts her “children” ahead of anything else. Joe gave up his own promising career as a musician to become a manager.
With all that is going on, it’s easy to forget that this is a romantic comedy and not a drama. Don’t worry, there are plenty of chuckles with an occasional crack up. Just don’t expect a fairy tale princess walking down the aisle for her prince.
Under the direction of artistic director Bill English, the play moves forward with plenty of references to the past. He handles the numerous scene changes with ease, and together with Yee’s adept writing makes what could have been a complex mess into a night of surprises.
Ho and Kahn’s nuanced performances make the various plot twists convincing. White takes on the role of a manager who must control his star talent while massaging his ego with a nice comedic touch. Darragh fits the role perfectly as a doting music instructor and mom.
While the first few scenes were a bit uneven opening night, the cast found its footing and carried the audience the rest of the way through.
Evening performances are Wednesday through Saturday with a matinee on Sunday. This is a mature comedy and not recommended for young children.
Tickets for both in-person showing and on demand streaming can be found at the San Francisco Playhouse website or by calling 415–677-9596.
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