Greed: A Musical for Our Times

by Judith Jarosz · April 3, 2014

Indie Artists on New Plays #69 Judith Jarosz comments on Greed: A Musical for Our Times

Greed is a snappy little revue crisply directed and choreographed by Christopher Scott that features a book, music & lyrics by Michael Roberts.

It starts out promising, with an amusing song called “It’s Mine” (Part 1), where a toddler is being fed and coddled by his parents who are those irritating yuppie types who treat their kids like they are the center of EVERYONE’S universe. You know the kind. It is staged cleverly and I thought perhaps we would follow the child through his life into greedy adulthood. Instead, we are presented with one greedy scenario after another unrelated to each other except with regard to that second of the seven deadly sins.

Some scenes are taken from news headlines past and more present, while other reflect on the human weakness of greed in more universal terms. Trouble is, the subject matter is depressing and many of the situations alluded to (Bernie Madoff, Ponzi scams, Doctors padded medical bill with unnecessary tests) have hurt a lot of people, devastated others, and are just not that funny. One song “Another Kid” is sung by a trailer trash woman who doesn’t want to actually work for a living so keeps having kids that the government will pay for. It is kind of funny in a very sad way but moves over an uncomfortable line when the singer points out that the government pays even more when the child is born challenged, so she drank and smoked during the last pregnancy to insure a bigger payback. The audience just seems genuinely uncomfortable. After 90 minutes that might be served with stronger dramaturgy, in the brief finale, we are simply told to be nice and not greedy.

The music is a mostly pleasing mix with forays into pop, country and standard musical theater style, and every once in a while there is a clever lyric, but for the most part this milkshake is smooth but unremarkable. The talented Mr. Scott does a nice job of moving everyone around on a sparse stage and there is some fun choreography. Joan Racho-Jansen’s lighting design and costumes by Dustin Cross are also well done. The cast of Julia Borrows, Stephanie D’Abruzzo, James Donegan and Neal Mayer are each brimming with talent. They make a valiant effort with the material, but with little to grab onto we are left with a harmless but unsatisfied feeling.





In an Introduction to a 2011 edition of Pinocchio, novelist John Boyne recalls being shocked by the “sinister feeling” running throughout Carlo Carllodi’s original story. Like me, his memory of the classic tale was shaped mostly by the Disney film of 1940. But in reading the story as intended, Boyne found something dark and, obviously, more exciting.
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