Drew Gasparini and Louis Sacco's charming new tuner Crazy, Just Like Me, at TBG Theatre, features a pleasant pop musical score with occasional funky flourishes. And while the book scenes sometimes stretch credulity, there's enough heart in the show to win audiences over in the end.
The musical follows the lives of 20-something roommates Simon (Andy Mientus) and Mike (Andrew Kober), who have been best friends since they were kids. Simon is feeling increasingly depressed, partly due to the continuing presence of Mike's girlfriend Lauren (Lexie Papedo). And when the couple tries to set Simon up on a blind date, things don't go quite as planned.
The script has a sitcom-like feel that makes some of the earlier scenes seem superficial, and the presence of Simon's therapist, Dr. Headman (Louis Sacco), comes across as a shoehorned-in plot device to help Simon reach a couple emotional breakthroughs.
As the show progresses, however, we get some terrific solos that help to flesh out the characters. These include Simon's "A Little Bit," which amusingly depicts his efforts to tell his mother something very important via telephone; Mike's "Fell in Love With Crazy," a nicely underplayed number in which he comes to a major realization; and Lauren's power ballad, "Slow Down," delivered at a crisis point in her relationship with Mike.
As Lauren's gay best friend, Mike Russo also gets a solo, "Straight Girl Problems," which contains some of Gasparini's most amusing lyrics in the show. A particularly choice rhyme is the word "reminder" with the gay hook-up mobile device app, Grindr.
Mientus finds a nice balance between indulging the show's quirky humor and bringing out the deeply felt loneliness that Simon experiences. He's well matched by Kober, who is particularly affecting as he struggles to find just the right things to say in the song, "Look at Me Now." The two actors also share a wonderfully palpable chemistry that helps to demonstrate the affection their characters have for one another.
-- Dan Bacalzo