Presented by ImprovBoston
Music and Lyrics by Melissa Carubia
Directed by John Michael Manship
Musical Direction by Shannon Jacob
February 26-May 20, 2016
ImprovBoston on Facebook
Review by Travis Manni
(Cambridge, MA) When I found out that the MBTA was going to cut Friday and Saturday extended hours, I wept for at least 5.5 seconds. My displeasure quickly morphed into absolute fury with the board members for making such a rash decision that effects hundreds of workers, students, and other Bostonians. I was revved up to come see the performance of ImprovBoston’s T-shaming show, T: An MBTA Musical and it was the perfect slap-in-the-face comeback to Boston’s poor excuse for public transit that I could’ve received.
Alice (Emily Laverdiere), a native Bostonian with an accent that comes and goes depending on how anxious she is, has been plagued by the T her entire life. During her routine commute, she stumbles upon Michelle (Lauren Robinson), a cute twenty-something struggling with confidence, and John (Robert LaMothe), the flirtatious bro-type, who believe they’ve found a map that holds the key to defeating the MBTA.
Though the trio seems an unexpected match, after sharing their stories they learn that they have a beautiful passion in common—a hatred for the T. The three set out on a public transit treasure hunt, travelling far and wide on the orange, green, and red lines (no, not blue, nobody cares about blue) to solve clues and find the MBTA headquarters. Meanwhile, the notorious General Manager of the Month (Ray O’Hare) unleashes the full force of his minions (T employees) to stop the group and their mission.
The musical numbers in this show were all pretty great, my favorites being “The Bro Song,” and “The Shuttle Bus Song (We Can’t Handle It)”. Each one had great comedic moments that triggered the audience’s equally passionate distaste with our commuting system, though at times the ensemble struggled with enunciating and I couldn’t hear every single line. But the live band had me tapping my feet the entire show.
An unexpected surprise with MBTA Musical was the fun facts that were dispersed throughout, which might come in handy on a Boston-themed trivia night. The set was also simplistic, just a single grey wall with a door and window space (a pretty accurate representation of the T), and displaying the station names onto a projection screen was a great choice to keep the audience engaged and grounded for those moments when the subway was all over the place.
The cast was as excited to be performing this show as any T-hater would. Emily Laverdiere was a delight to watch as the over-the-bullshit everyday commuter, with just the perfect amount of sass. Lauren Robinson and Robert LaMothe were also great as the charmingly delusional love-struck couple, though I felt bad that their biggest plot point that almost tore them apart was rather weak, so I never felt invested enough to root for the pair. Ensemble member Britt Mitchell also deserves a quick shout out for her brief but iconic performance as a mumbling T employee that had me cracking up on my own subway ride back home.
T: An MBTA Musical is a great time for any T-riding Bostonian who’s experienced shuttle buses, unhelpful staff, and CharlieCard readers that refuse to recognize your card. The show runs for 1 hour, 30 minutes with one intermission. All shows are at 10pm every Friday night through May 20th, and you can purchase tickets by clicking here.