Hip Shot: ‘iSchool Musical’

iSchool Musical

1835 14th St., NW

Remaining Performances:

Saturday July 10 @ 8:00 pm
Friday July 16 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday July 17 @ 8:00 pm
Friday July 23 @ 8:00 pm
Saturday July 24 @ 2:00 pm
Saturday July 24 @ 8:00 pm

They Say: WIT's hit show iMusical creates and performs and instant musical inspired by Glee, High School Musical . . . and suggestions from the audience.  Every note, lyric, character and line of dialogue is improvised in this hilarious and subversive sensation.

Adam’s Take: I agree.  Scripted lines are definitely overrated.  You've just got to let the words fly off the tongue.  Life is spontaneous and so, too, should be the stage.  Yet the cast of iSchool Musical were good enough to fool the audience into thinking they'd wasted weeks at rehearsals.

Of course, only improv theater could produce a show that melded the tale of an underground drama club at NOVA’s very own Thomas Jefferson High School (one of several audience-submitted elements) with that of an overachieving student who is seduced by a sausage maker-cum-opera singer named Carmen.   Could these lives really collide?  All in seventy minutes?  Only when there is no chance to think about what should rationally come next.  No time to dwell on the absurdity of the situation.  You just go with it.

What makes this show even more notable is the musical numbers that come when least expected.  Tired of talking?  Just break into song.  The masterful repertoire of  keyboardist/director Travis Ploeger was a big part of why each scene felt stranger than the last.  Washington Improv Theater has been around for a long while, and that experience was evident in the way the  cast worked as a team capable of taking cues from each other and running as far with a joke as possible — miles, it sometimes seemed, until some other unexpected twist is thrown their way.  This made the show not only funny but also engaging, no matter how crazy the plot became.  And the cast was still able to somehow tie most of the loose ends together to pull off an unexpectedly happy ending.

The performance I saw was the 100th in WIT's iMusical series, (but the debut of the spinoff iSchool Musical) and with improv, there's no way to know what the next show will be like.   But if show number 101 is anywhere as good, it would be hard to come away disappointed.

See It If: You believe the best playwrights do their work on stage while the play is happening.

Skip It If: You enjoy watching Hamlet because you know there is only one way for it to end each time.