A COMMERCIAL JINGLE FOR REGINA COMET Opens as First New Musical in New York — Review


Ben Fankhauser, Bryonha Marie Parham, and Alex Wyse | Photo: Matthew Murphy

Kobi Kassal
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September 27, 2021 8:30 PM

In the lexicon of popular culture, commercial jingles rank pretty high up there. Try finding someone on the street who doesn’t know the Stanley Steemer, Nationwide Insurance, even Klondike ice cream tunes — they are and always will be iconic. So when two songwriters catch their big break with a chance to write for a pop superstar and her new perfume line, they know this is their chance to rise into stardom themselves. That is exactly where we begin in A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet, a brand new original musical which opens tonight Off-Broadway at the DR2 Theatre.

With music, lyrics, and a book by Broadway besties Ben Fankhauser and Alex Wyse (who also star as the young unknown composing duo known in the show, simply as “Man 2” and “Other Man”, respectively), this new comedy will bring you a smile to your face throughout it’s quick 80-minute runtime. 

Bryonha Marie Parham and Ben Fankhauser | Photo: Matthew Murphy

We meet down-on-her-luck pop icon Regina Comet, played by the immensely talented and always hysterical Bryonha Marie Parham, who is looking for her next hit but lately always seems to be coming up short. Somehow the novice writers land a Facetime with Regina, who chooses them as her new writing team (mostly because they are the cheapest). We're along for a wild ride filled with plenty of jokes from their days at a Jewish sleepaway camp to Man 2’s obsession with magic tricks. This kooky little show brings together the world of theatre, composing, and aerospace dynamics?!? 

While the book can sometimes be bogged down with cliches and calculable plot lines, it is quite clear the team both off-stage and on is filled with passion for the project. With direction by Marshall Pailet, and quirky work by choreographer Stephanie Klemons, the trio fill the small DR2 stage and play off Wilson Chin’s charming set. When Fankhauser takes over at the piano from time to time from music director/keyboardist Alex Goldie Golden, that is where the piece shines the brightest. Well, also with all the lasers, but no more spoilers here. 

In what is seemingly shaping up to be a Title of Show for the next generation, Wyse and Fankhasuer have created a comical new work filled with heart and tunes that will be stuck in your head for days to come. After a long 18 months away from world premieres on stage, Regina Comet will feed your theatre-loving soul in all the right ways.

“A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet” is currently playing at the DR2 Theatre on East 15th Street in New York City through November 14, 2021. For tickets and more information, visit here.  

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Kobi Kassal

Hailing from sunny South Florida, Kobi Kassal founded Theatrely (formerly Theatre Talk Boston) while attending Boston University. He is an avid theatre attender and can be found seeing a performance most nights of the week (in normal times!) He is interested in the cross section of theatre, popular culture, hospitality, and politics. He also loves a good bagel!