March 12, 2015

Time is doing odd things on and off Broadway. It’s fracturing in “Constellations,” hopscotching in “Bright Half Life,” and in “Long Story Short,” a newish musical by Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda, it is executing a halfhearted loop-de-loop. This two-character, single-set, 90-minute show from Prospect Theater Company follows Charles (Bryce Ryness) and Hope (Pearl Sun) from first date to death. Maybe. Is this really a fast-forward version of their lives, or a fantasy issuing from Hope’s tannin-addled brain? (She drank too much bad wine at their first dinner.) That the last scene recreates the opening one blurs easy interpretation. But nothing else about this musical, which relies heavily on stereotype and shortcut, is especially difficult. Charles is Jewish and overeager, Hope is Asian-American and describes herself as uptight, but despite likable performances and efficient direction by Kent Nicholson, the pair never seems fully sketched. (The less said about the brief scene in which they sketch each other’s orgasm faces, the better.)