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‘Angry Housewives,’ A New Musical, Opens Off-Broadway

September 8, 1986

NEW YORK (AP) _ In a world dominated by dishpan hands, ring around the collar and waxy yellow buildup, the thought of forming a punk rock band may be exotic, appealing and maybe even a little liberating.

A.M. Collins and Chad Henry apparently think so. Unfortunately, it’s not very entertaining or very funny. They have expanded this domestic daydream into ″Angry Housewives,″ a silly and obvious musical comedy which opened Sunday at off-Broadway’s Minetta Lane Theater.

The book, courtesy of Ms. Collins, is simple to the point of being simple- minded. Four middle-class, middle-age women decide to enter a talent contest at a local rock club because they need the money and want some self- respect. The quartet forms a punk band called ″The Angry Housewives.″ The complications are predictable and the jokes feeble.

The four women are a cross section of sisterhood. Bev (Carolyn Casanave) is a widow with a teen-age son to raise. Carol, an overweight divorcee played by Camille Saviola, munches potato chips while longing for Mr. Right to come along. Jetta (Vicki Lewis) is a mousy corporate housewife, content to pick the lint off her overbearing husband’s blue suit. Wendy (Lorna Patterson) is a flighty female who switches jobs every few weeks and puts up with a boyfriend more interested in his sailboat than in her.

If the women in the show appear dumb, the men are dumber. Most ridiculous is Larry, Jetta’s husband, a coporate lawyer with a button-down mind and a button-down mouth. The usually reliable Nicholas Wyman is saddled with this unfortunate role and if he looks like he would rather be any place but the stage of the Minetta Lane Theater, it’s understandable.

The show twitches with some life when the story stops and the music starts. Henry’s score is an agreeable mixture of soft and hard rock put over by an accomplished team of musical comedy performers.

Chief among these are Lee Wilkof as Lewd Fingers, the opportunistic promotor of the punk rock contest, and Ms. Saviola whose flair for low-down comedy gets a workout in a song called ″Generic Woman″ that contains Henry’s wittiest lyrics.

Director Mitchell Maxwell can’t do much with the lame book but he wisely has allowed choreographer Wayne Cilento to enliven most of the musical numbers with some fancy footwork.

″Angry Housewives″ comes to New York from the Pioneer Square Theater in Seattle where the show is now in its fourth year. A similar run in New York doesn’t seem likely.

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