NEW YORK (AP) — Romance can be as elusive as it is enchanting, which might explain the odd choice of title for the lighthearted rock musical "F---- Up Everything," which opened Sunday at the Elektra Theatre.
The opening number of the classic boy-meets-girl romantic comedy provides a tidy introduction to its eclectic, energetic cast of characters, a group of recent college grads prowling Brooklyn's late-night music and dating scenes.
An up-and-coming indie rock band called Ironic Maiden is playing its final song at a local dive bar. The band's too-cool-for-school singer Jake (Jason Gotay) screams the vacuous lyrics of the musical's punky title song, as his best friends dance nearby, dutifully playing the part of adoring fans.
Ivy (Dawn Cantwell) is dating the bass player, Tony (Douglas Widick), but she secretly longs for Jake. Christian (Max Crumm), is a painfully awkward but likable puppeteer who has spent most of his life in Jake's shadow.
The crew's balance is soon disrupted by the arrival of a new girl in town, Ivy's friend Juliana (Katherine Cozumel), an aspiring singer-songwriter from California who predictably stumbles into the predatory crosshairs of both Jake and Christian.
With music and lyrics by David Eric Davis, the songs range from Ivy's sweetly rendered ballad "If You Were Mine," to Tony's equally affectionate but laughable reggae jingle, "Me and My Bong," which he performs from the sofa in his apartment.
Other highlights include Jake and Christian's "bromantic" duet "Be My Bro," and a neatly theatrical moment in which Jake and Ivy sing a clever stop-time number called "Awkward Silence."
The actors play instruments onstage and the band features some impressively crisp guitar solos and rocking drum fills. But despite the show's edgy title, the score is considerably tame and ultimately undercut by the goofy humor and lengthy scenes in Davis and Sam Forman's airily silly book.
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