Music Theatre of Connecticut
As it says in the program of “Fully Committed,” the splendid new production that Music Theatre of Connecticut is currently presenting, theatre is alive and well in Norwalk, Connecticut. Having passed rigorous safety guidelines enforced by both the state and Actors Equity, Music Theatre of Connecticut was just featured in the New York Times as one of only three theatre companies in the country that have been allowed to open their doors to audiences again.
In these unprecedented troubled times, theatre is needed more than ever. Indeed, it is really something of a miracle to be able to see live theatre again, and what is even nicer about Music Theatre of Connecticut’s “Fully Committed” is that it is a truly delightful and deeply entertaining show, as well.
Having seen “Fully Committed,” by Becky Mode, before (including the original Off-Broadway production), this one-person play will quite literally rise or fall based on the actor chosen to star in this show. It is very happy news that the tremendously talented Matt Densky is the star in question at Music Theatre of Connecticut and he pulls off this dizzying and extremely physical role with complete aplomb.
Or it should be said “roles,” for, while Densky plays the central part of Sam, an out-of-work actor working at an elite New York restaurant, answering phones and taking reservations, he also plays all of the dozens of people who call him. Somehow, Densky accomplishes this all, literally bringing a whole world of characters to the stage, and he never lets you see him sweat.
A good part of the triumph of his performance is that Densky brings such an endearing and sweet nature to the role of Sam. Indeed, one really comes to love and root for this character during the play’s hour and fifteen minute running time. So, beyond the logistics of convincingly employing different voices and mannerisms to each of the people who call the restaurant, this actor also wears his heart on his sleeve a bit and he is all the better for it.
When done right (as it is here), “Fully Committed” is a hilarious show, but the warmth that Densky exudes throughout adds a little something special to the production. This actor gets all of the requisite laughs in the play, but he is also charming and, what’s more, even touching, at times, bringing a quality of humanity to the crazed proceedings in the show.
Director Kevin Connors also deserves a lot of credit for making “Fully Committed” work so well. On an ideal set of a basement (perfectly designed by Jessie Lizotte), the director takes advantage of every inch of the stage, as his star runs from one phone to the other, answering calls. The show is expertly lit by RJ Romeo and the costume design (by Diane Vanderkroef) is spot-on and entirely appropriate.
The pacing of the production is just right, and, if ever a show needed cracker-jack timing, “Fully Committed” is one play that absolutely demands it. The director and his designers work in excellent accordance and it must be said that the sound design by Will Atkin is brilliant, as well. Indeed, everything comes together just right in this terrific show and the results are deeply satisfying and funny.
Still, one is left with the sight of Matt Densky, not only technically getting everything precise, what with the dozens of characters he brings to life, but also radiating a glow of real endearment and making the part of Sam so down-right lovable. By all means, come to see “Fully Committed” at Music Theatre of Connecticut, not only to support theatre at this crucial time, but also because this show is just so delightful and joyous from beginning to end.
“Fully Committed” runs through September 27, 2020 at Music Theatre of Connecticut at 509 Wesport Avenue, Norwalk, CT. For tickets, please visit www.musictheatreofct.com or call the box office 203-454-3883. Under very strict guidelines, Music Theatre of Connecticut, in addition to selling tickets to come to see the show at the theatre, one can also buy tickets to watch the show live-streamed at home. As someone who did see “Fully Committed” through a live-stream, I can attest that it really is just as satisfying as seeing the show in the actual theatre.
Photo: Matt Densky
Photo by Alex Mongillo