Thursday, April 23, 2009

Driving Miss Brown

Watching the first public performance of The Unauthorized Autobiography of Samantha Brown in the Orange County Performing Arts Center's Samueli Theatre on Tuesday night, I could understand completely why its protagonist was feeling "driver's block."

Her overbearingly perfect parents and over-respectful perfect boyfriend matched perfectly her own over-managed perfect academic performance (she's a high school valedictorian en route to Columbia University). Her only flaw is her habitual failure to pass the driving exam to obtain her license--ironic though it might be for someone as smart as she, it's an apt metaphor, exploited to great effect by a mercurial friend urging her to drive on out of there to freedom.

This is a workshop production of a brand new musical that is as endearing as it is promising. It continues through May 3, and tickets are cheap enough to see it now and to return at the end of the run to see what changes its creators make (they are working daily on re-writes).

And it's the first foray by OCPAC into new works development, a worthy activity and a great first step.

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