Broadway Bounty Hunter at Greenwich House Theater
by Anna Altheide
The cast and company of Broadway Bounty Hunter light up the black box stage at the Greenwich House Theater through August 18 in a cheeky wink-nudge to musical theatre and 1970s “Super Fly”-style film.
Written and composed by Be More Chill’s Joe Iconis, the book, music, and lyrics of Bounty Hunter spotlight on main character Annie Golden, portrayed by the adorable Annie Golden in a stellar, slightly-biographical performance. Once the “little red-headed fox” of Broadway, Annie is now in her golden years and in a career slump, facing degradation and belittlement by both casting directors and younger ingenue alike.
Through a quick turn of events following a lukewarm audition, Annie is recruited as an unlikely bounty hunter in an underground, anti-patriarchal, and “progressive as f*ck” crime syndicate ring, led by Shiro Jin (portrayed with confidence and great comic timing by Emily Borromeo). Once she passes her initial training, Annie is partnered with the smooth walkin’, jive talkin’ Larazus (Alan H. Green, effortlessly cool and hilarious) and put to the test to seize the notorious South American drug-pushing pimp, Mac Roundtree (Brad Oscar, hamming it up from start to finish).
A highlight of Broadway Bounty Hunter is its company of sensational ensemble actors: Badia Farha, Jasmine Forsberg, Omar Garibay, Jared Joseph and Christina Sajous. It’s no exaggeration to say that this production is an ensemblist dream, with its silly, over-the-top script and lyrics giving each actor ample time and opportunity to showcase their own unique energy and individual characters.
In fact, Broadway Bounty Hunter is one of the few shows I’ve seen as of late whose commitment and trust in its ensemble goes hand-in-hand with its inherent likability. Unlike many popular tentpole shows on the Great White Way, which may rely on its company for lush vocals and showstopping choreography (but little characterization), this production not only gives each minor character a name and a pulse, but a reason to exist within the show’s unabashedly goofy timeline. It's as unique as it is refreshing.
Iconis’ R&B and funk-infused score adds the right amount of texture and personality to keep the show moving along. Though sometimes forgettable, there still isn’t a bad or belabored song in the bunch, and like the show, itself, it never once takes itself too seriously. This is especially true as the show uproariously lampoons Iconis’ own Be More Chill in a second act twist so meta, I can’t bring myself to spoil it. Jennifer Werner’s direction and choreography also make good use of strobe lighting and projected imagery to set the stage.
In the end, despite a few corny missteps here and there, Broadway Bounty Hunter is a looney, laugh-out-loud, and often times delightful farce. And like Lazarus’ sweet ride, it’s also a terrific vehicle (you see what I did there?) for a handful of dynamite and fresh ensemble performances.