A very moving, beautifully scripted, and delightfully entertaining musical is thrilling audiences at the Underground Theatre. Billed as a musical that “explores the dynamic relationship between mothers, sons, and families,” this soulful journey is so much more.
Creatively and masterfully brought to life by Ethan Paulini, Christopher Sidoli, and Wendy Watson, the creators are also the brilliant stars. Their voices unite in a joyous celebration of life, competition, growing pains, and a heart-wrenching realization of an empty nest. Yet, through it all, they proclaim, “We are family.”
When Wendy Watson opens the night, you know Mama is giving one of life’s most memorable lessons. A montage of cleverly written and produced original works is interwoven with classical favorites, hit tunes, and even a sprinkle of sitcom. The vocals from Wendy, Ethan, and Christopher are so beautifully blended, one immediately believes this is a family. Only heredity can produce such harmony!
One moment you are camping through a Cabaret, the next you are immersed in a Spiritual Tent Revival, then you are smack in the middle of Broadway (only a few blocks away), and then you are in the midst of Mama’s bosom – which she invites with great pride! The eclectic mix is electrifying. The brothers harmonize about being “Sisters,” acknowledging they were “Born This Way,” and discover their Daddy had left a heart-broken Mama, who never let it show to her Boys. Tears of laughter, tears of joy, tears of sharing.
Wendy is the perfect Mama! She is the Mom kids wrestling with coming-of-age would love to have. Her vocal performance is uplifting. An incredible range of talent is beautifully gifted to the audience with an incredible range of emotion. You laugh, love, lust, and long for Mama.
Ethan and Christopher are Mama’s proud brothers, or sisters, whichever attitude fits. Their harmonies and vocal performances stop you in your tracks and bring you to your feet. You fall in love with them from the start and don’t want them to go home. You want them to come home with you!
The most poignant moment for me was the finale.
Immediately, I focused on Ethan standing behind and to Mama’s right. As Mama was capturing our souls with her appreciation of life and pride in the boys she raised, the emotions and look in Ethan’s eyes showed us a deep understanding of the sacrifices his mother had made for her boys. My eyes opened widely.
I looked over at Christopher and there was that million dollar smile and heart-stopping glimmer in his eyes.
Immediately, Mama drew me back in and I was captured by the lyrics. I could not take my eyes off Mama. I glanced back to Ethan and now he had that million dollar smile and heart-stopping glimmer. Quickly I glanced to Christopher and his expression was now the one of understanding the sacrifices Mama had made.
The lyrics and transitions of expressions were poignant. I cannot think of any other way to describe that beautiful, tender, and most loving moment between Mama and Her Boys.
Truly, this is an exceptional show by extremely talented storytellers. The Boys love their Mama. Mama loves her boys. They love what they have created and they obviously love each other. I loved being a guest in their home.
A press opening is scheduled for February 25. Performances continue every Monday at 9 pm at the new Underground Theatre, 955 West End Avenue (at W. 107th and Broadway). Tickets, priced $30-$40 are available by calling 866.811.4111 or visiting theatermania.com.