April 2, 2014

Two television families, both alike in dignity, are at each other’s throats — literally. A fierce rivalry of Shakespearean proportions has arisen between the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family following the cancellation of their shows, and all of them are bent on vengeance. But can Greg Brady and Laurie Partridge make their star-crossed relationship work anyway? And just how many Partridges must die to appease Carol Brady’s bloodlust? To find out, hie thee to The Bardy Bunch, now playing on the gore-encrusted stage of the Theatre at St. Clement’s. Written by Stephen Garvey and directed by Jay Stern, this send-up of two popular 1970s "modern families" combines jaunty music, lively dance, and endless carnage in a Shakespeare-themed extravaganza that at times threatens to impale itself on its own witty rapier, but recovers in its uproarious second half.

Theater Pizzazz

Linda Amiel

April 6, 2014

The Bardy Bunch premiered at Fringe NYC and is now at Theatre at St. Clements for a limited engagement until April 13th. This production has been described as a “comedy mash-up of a dozen Shakespeare plays set in the 1970’s and featuring two classic TV families.” The show is written by Stephen Garvey and directed by Jay Stern with a cast of 18 talented singers and dancers, some playing several roles. The amusing premise is that we join the families just as their TV shows have ceased airing and the rivalry begins as they both go on tour. The program describes this situation that since they are “no longer under America’s watchful eye, they meet on a collision course in a blood-soaked, vengeance-fueled, lust-filled crossover episode of Shakespearean proportions.” Sean McDermott and Lori Hammel play Mike and Carol Brady who are akin to the Macbeths and start out by killing Mike’s boss so that Mike can take over the business. Mr. Phillip’s ghost appears every so often as in Hamlet and, as others are murdered or meet untimely deaths, the stage fills up with suddenly appearing ghosts. The Brady kids are portrayed by Greg (Zach Trimmer), Peter (Matthew Dorsey Moore) Bobby (Chaz Jackson), Marcia (Cali Elizabeth Moore), Jan (Annie Watkins), Cindy (Talisa Friedman) and even their faithful housekeeper Alice (Joan Lunoe) joins the family to comfort Carol and her flock.

Curtain Up


April 7, 2014

Stephen Garvey’s musical The Bardy Bunch puts Shakespeare cheek by jowl with the TV families Partridge and Brady. This comic mash-up of a dozen Shakespeare plays is topped off with 15 of their famous hit songs, sassy dancing, and a high-energy and attractive cast. First seen at the New York City Fringe Festival 2011 (Award for Outstanding Ensemble), this parody is a ton of fun. But it needs a stronger through-line to deliver all of its Shakespearean goods. The light feeling and spirit are ballasted with the reality that the Partridge and Brady’s TV programs had recently been cancelled from the ABC networks. Moreover, Richard Nixon had just resigned the presidency in the wake of the Watergate scandal. Far from a profound historic study, this parody nonetheless holds a Shakespearean mirror up to American culture and looks it in its political eye. The subtitle of this work is The War of the Families Partridge and Brady and Garvey wastes no time unpacking the woes of each family. The opener ("The Past is Prologue") is a comic reworking of the original Prologue of Romeo and Juliet. It’s delivered, meat cutter in hand, by the chorus Sam the Butcher. Garvey has updated and embellished it with 70s lingo by switching the household names of Capulet and Montague to Partridge and Brady.

Theater In The Now


March 31, 2014

Life after Fringe Festival is either nonexistent or fruitful. Thankfully after a 2011 successful Fringe run, The Bardy Bunch is back and better than ever! Drawing inspiration from Shakespeare’s biggest characters and infamous plots, 70s sitcom families The Bradys and The Partridges are engaged in an all out war. Filled with inside jokes, references, and the iconic songs from both shows, writer Stephen Garvey gives each clan member a Shakespearean persona that propels the story into an epic finale.


April 9, 2014

The first shock is that Shirley Partridge has married Reuben Kincaid, the band’s seemingly undesirable manager. Young Danny is distraught, like Hamlet when his mother married his uncle. Then little Cindy Brady is hiding behind the arras when Danny unsheathes his dagger. Silverhair Productions’ musical The Bardy Bunch: The War of the Families Partridge and Brady is the sort of index-cards-in-the-air premise that makes pop culturati smile. Combine two vintage television series, then infuse them with Shakespearean plots. It’s 1974, and two of history’s sunniest sitcoms, The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family, have been canceled. The families — longtime enemies like the Capulets and the Montagues — meet. Under Jay Stern’s laissez-faire direction, the show swings between hits and misses. Sweet Marcia, the eldest of the Brady girls, has never heard of Richard M. Nixon or Watergate, an allusion to that show’s obliviousness to the turbulent era in which it was set. Jan’s middle-child complex hits bottom; after she dies (and almost everybody is murdered — it’s Shakespearean), nobody even pays attention to her ghost. In Stephen Garvey’s script, many one-liners capture the lameness of the original episodes’ humor; that device is only semi-funny, but it’s always soothing to hear Carol Brady say, “Your father is right, kids.”