Sex sells in off-Broadway’s “Hello Again” by Kevin M. Thomas

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Photo: Carol Rosegg

Quite an interesting evening at the theatre. Tonight was my first night on my New York trip to catch up on musicals.

I saw there was a preview of “Hello Again” off-Broadway and since it was written by Michael John LaChiusa, whom I am a fan of even though I missed the show the first time around in the 1990s, I thought it would be a great time at the theatre.

Sometimes off-Broadway means not up to Broadway standards. Sometimes it means a little more avant-garde. And then there’s the true meaning that it’s based upon the number of seats in the theatre.

“Hello Again” is off-Broadway due to the more progressive way its told and due to the intimacy of the theatre space.

From start to finish, this evening was a refreshing night that was truly different – and that’s a good thing. The quirkiness started the second I arrived at the theatre early to discover there’s no sign that there’s even a theatre there. It looks more like a baby adventure center thanks to the other tenant in the building.  But when you come back about half an hour before the show, there’s a poster on the door and someone greeting you.

When you enter the theatre, on the fourth floor of the building, it’s dark and sexy with velvet curtains down the corridor and cocktail tables. Is this a cabaret, old chum?

Turns out the tables are actually part of the set and stage. The actors perform all over the theatre and especially in the bed in the middle of the theatre.

There needs to be a bed in the middle of the theatre as this show is charged with sizzling hot sex. There’s sex in the bed, sex on the tables we’re sitting at, sex all over the theatre.

Sex, talented singers, good interconnected stories and songs – this show exudes all of these elements with a passion.

Each actor brings a raw energy to their part as they bare their souls and sometimes their bodies right in front of the audience that is so close when they are on your table performing. (For prudes, the nudity is very mild.)

“Hello Again” is loosely based on the 1900’s “La Ronde” in which 10 characters are intercut at different times of their lives, class station and of this earth.

Each of the 10 members of the cast is strong and in good voice. For sex appeal there’s something for everyone: a whore, a nurse, a politician, a young man, a military man, a writer…it seems the show was carefully cast to have someone mesmerize everyone in the audience.

My attention was on the dark haired Jonathan Hammond. I know I should mention others in the cast as well as they were all terrific. But when Hammond came on stage, he won me over in his two scenes from 1920 and 1970. Of course, since the 1970s was during the disco era, he looked great in those tight pants – and out of them. He’ s also given my favorite number, “The One I Love.”

So whether you go for the libretto or your libido, it doesn’t matter. Just go to “Hello Again.”

The show opened March 20, 2011 and plays a limited schedule through its extension April 10th, 2011 at Transport Group at 52 Mercer Street, 4th Floor, New York. Get more information and tickets at www.transportgroup.org.