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Rated P for Parenthood

This new musical comedy about the trials and tribulations of being a parent is consistently thoughtful and incessantly funny.

The cast of Rated P for Parenthood
(© Carol Rosegg)
Rated P for Parenthood, the new musical comedy currently making its Off-Broadway debut upstairs at the Westside Theatre, is a rarity: it's incessantly funny, consistently thoughtful, full of heart -- and never once hits a dull chord.

Featuring book and lyrics by Sandy Rustin, with music and lyrics by Dan Lipton and David Rossmer, the show takes audiences through many of the trials and tribulations that make parenting a surprising adventure -- from pregnancy to prom and beyond -- through a series of relatable vignettes filled with colorful humor.

The music explores all genres, from Rap in "Parent Teacher Conference," a ditty about fathers calming their nerves before speaking with their kids' teachers, to Country in "Tick Tock," a group number about being proud that your kid can do menial tasks (because it proves that you're not a f**k-up).

Lipton, Rustin and Rossmer's lyrics are clever, cute, and creative, and easily accessible to men and women of all ages, whether or not they have kids of their own. Who doesn't remember the first time they drove or going to mom for help with homework and not getting a straight answer. Every number pokes fun in all the right places.

Using just a few props and small costume changes, the cast of four is masterful at embodying a slew of characters, ranging in age, sexuality, and persona. Courtney Balan and Joanna Young took on a range of moms, from one interviewing at preschools to one who is excited to drop her child off at camp so that she can be intimate with her husband. Balan was at her best when she gets a bit loony performing "Driving in D Minor" as she lets her son take her for a drive.

Chris Hoch was hysterical as Dad enamored with "The Game" of football on Sunday afternoons, much to his mischievous daughter's delight. The standout amongst this quartet, however, was David Josefsberg, who brought down the house with his penchant for hilarious character work. Whether he's down-with-it when he's rapping, hunched over as an old man, or videotaping his teenage daughter at her first job, his unique talent for getting laughs in all the right places is one not to miss.

Jeremy Dobrish's direction is commendable and intelligent, and he never once loses the attention of his audience. Steven Capone's scenic design is simple, yet as bright as the show itself. Blocks of color adorn the backdrop, coordinating well with the equally basic, yet pleasing costumes by Emily DeAngelis.

So be prepared to want to call your mom by the end of the night. You may want to thank her for everything she's done for you -- and you'll definitely want to tell her all about this A-plus show.