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Greetings from Yorkville

Anya Turner and Robert Grusecki's autobiographical musical about two New York songwriters is, at best, occasionally pleasant. logo
Robert Grusecki and Anya Turner
in Greetings From Yorkville
(© Peter Zielinski)
Songwriters Anya Turner and Robert Grusecki, who live in Manhattan's Yorkville neighborhood and have been attempting for some time to make it in show business, have compiled Greetings from Yorkville, an occasionally pleasant musical about two songwriters named Anya Turner and Robert Grusecki who live in Manhattan's Yorkville neighborhood and have been attempting for some time to make it in show business.

Never mind that this supposedly amusing desperate measure is woefully reminiscent of such other self-referential items as Gutenberg! The Musical and They're Playing Our Song. What's more damaging is that Turner and Grusecki apparently haven't received the memo that says an abundance of dated-sounding cabaret material is not the way to achieve show-biz fame and fortune with 2007 audiences.

Perhaps if Turner and Grusecki were far more ground-breaking tunesmiths than they are on the evidence presented here, they could make an enticing event of their hope-springs-eternal endeavor. But a song about a piano dubbed "It's Called a Piano" isn't the path to the Theater Hall of Fame. The same can be said for three tepid ditties from a musicalized Much Ado About Nothing that they once turned out in their continuing bid to be noticed, or a weird first-act finale number called "Clara Drum" that includes the mystifying line, "And when his hand slips from my hand/Only the wind will understand."

Nor is anyone likely to cover a Stephen Sondheim Sweeney Todd parody that tells the tale of a farmer and his wife and contrives to reach the name "Greeny Sod." (Why do so many aspiring composers and lyricists think they have to send up Sondheim at the same time as proving they're as clever as he?)

Turner, a Debra Monk lookalike, exhibits a modicum of performing talent as she recounts the trials she and her partner have endured through myriad temp jobs while never relinquishing their dream. The lithe and lanky Grusecki mostly contributes his share of the dialogue and singing from the Steinway he plays with an appealing light touch. (His melodies are more interesting than the lyrics that he and Turner write.) Together, they look to be a loving pair. Indeed, only a curmudgeon wouldn't wish them well in a quest for attention.

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