Iowa OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Brian Harkin
  • NY TIMES

  • Opening Night:
    March 20, 2015
    Closing:
    May 10, 2015

    Theater: Playwrights Horizons / 416 West 42nd Street, New York, NY, 10036

    Synopsis: 

    Mom found her soul-mate on Facebook, and he lives in Iowa. So Becca says goodbye to her beloved math teacher, bulimic best friend, neighborhood pony and her mildly deficient teenage life, and she follows her wayward mother to a new, uncharted beginning. But in this fanciful, absurdist, and intoxicating musical play from the imagination of Jenny Schwartz and Todd Almond nothing can prepare them for what they’ll find.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Iowa

    ‘Iowa’ Is a State of Absurdity at Playwrights Horizons

    Charles Isherwood

    April 13, 2015: Aiming for the endearingly zany, the new musical “Iowa” overshoots the runway, landing somewhere in the vicinity of complete inanity. This oppressively antic show, about the uneasy relationship between an introverted teenage girl and her excessively — make that lunatically — outgoing mother, plays like a series of songs, scenes and sketches with little connecting tissue. Featuring a book by Jenny Schwartz, music by Todd Almond and lyrics by both, “Iowa,” which opened on Monday at Playwrights Horizons (where the program cover and title page call it, confusingly, “Iow@”), tells of the middle-aged Sandy (Karyn Quackenbush), who has been conducting an online romance with a man she met on Facebook. Desperate to seem youthful, she tends to speak in textese. In a loopy monologue about sex, she asks her 14-year-old daughter, Becca (Jill Shackner), “BTW are you a lesbian?” The answer, which is no, comes during a conversation in which Sandy introduces Becca, via Skype it would appear, to Roger, the man she calls her fiancé. His voice occasionally interrupts Sandy’s dithery and often cruel ramblings about Becca, whom she mockingly calls Bookah, because she reads a lot.

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