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I saw the first new musical to premiere in NYC. Here’s why you should, too

October 14, 2021 by Tina Wargo
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NYC’s first original musical to open post-pandemic is A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet, and this hilarious, heartfelt buddy comedy about inspiration, innovation, and lasers is the perfect show to welcome us back.

With many of our old faves returning to stages both on and off Broadway after a year and a half hiatus, there’s no shortage of amazing theatre to see in New York City. The classics like The Lion King and Wicked are back in full swing. New plays like Chicken & Biscuits and Thoughts of a Colored Man are capturing audiences who’ve been craving original works. But alongside all the fanfare of these exciting openings and reopenings, a brand new, wholly original musical opened downtown and quickly won the hearts of all those who were able to snag a ticket — myself included!

I’m talking A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet, a whip-smart, stupid funny, jingle-packed musical written by and starring some of your Broadway faves. Alex Wyse and Ben Fankhauser co-wrote and star in this hilarious, innovative show alongside Bryonha Marie Parham in the titular role, and as I’m still riding high on the comet of experiencing the half-a-Wicked-long (that’s 80 minutes for Muggles) marvel that is Regina Comet, I figured I’d write one hit article breaking down all the reasons you should go, too!

It’s really funny.

I haven’t laughed this hard at a musical in a long time. I know for some it can be intimidating going to a show alone. You don’t know if you’re going to like it. You have no one to grab on to when a particularly exciting or emotional or, sometimes, cringey moment happens. And you worry that you’ll be too self-conscious to truly experience everything the show has to offer. But Regina Comet was a perfect see-alone show, not just because it felt intimate enough that the whole audience was in it together, but because it was so laugh-out-loud funny, you have no choice but to stop caring about what everyone around you is thinking and simply LOL.

The characters are all super-unique and come with their own quirks, the book is filled with tiny moments of hilarity, and the overall premise and subsequent tone is just absurd enough to make you immediately lighten up and just take the (metaphorical) ride into (metaphorical) outer space with these three goofballs onstage.

The music is super catchy.

There’s always a challenge when entering into a theatre where you know nothing of what you’re about to see. When seeing a new musical in particular, theatre kids tend to fall into two camps: the “I need to know the whole cast album first” people, and the “I don’t want to know anything until I’m in my seat watching the show” folks. I tend to belong to the latter, and while that occasionally sets me up for confusion and mishearing of crucial lyrics, sometimes, it creates one of those wonderful, you-can-only-get-this-at-the-theatre evenings where you experience something completely, totally, and refreshingly new.

In our Google-fueled retweet water cooler culture, it’s actually really hard to find something you know nothing about. So when I finally got to the theatre and sat down before the show, I had a real moment of “Oh wow, I’m about to see and hear something I’ve never seen and heard before,” which hasn’t happened in a long time. The magic of a story unfolding in front of your eyes never gets less wondrous for a true theatre kid, and there certainly was no shortage of “aha” and “oh my god” moments as I watched Regina Comet‘s story play out in front of me.

The quippy, catchy, beautifully harmonized lyrics of Regina Comet will leave you humming to yourself all throughout Union Square and will also leave you with no doubt that one of your theatre camp friends will send you a petition called “Make A Cast Recording Of ‘A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet!'” via Facebook messenger within the month.

It’s totally original.

It’s not often a show’s logline is the thing that really hooks you right up front, but the sheer novelty of the concept of two jingle writers teaming up with a world-renowned pop star certainly piques one’s interest from the get-go. And the originality delivers. As the show gets moving and we get to know these characters, there’s very little cliché to be found, moment-to-moment, in their development and their choices. At once, I feel like I know these three people as well as I know some of my friends and like I have absolutely no idea what they’re going to do next. And I can tell you, having seen it all, there are some things I would not have guessed they’d do in million years… No spoilers though!

It’s about following your dreams…

At its core, Regina Comet is about the creative process and what happens when it gets in the way of real life and what happens when life gets in the way of real creativity. With faint shades of “One Song Glory,” “Finishing The Hat,” and “Moving Too Fast,” our two main characters’ journey to write one perfect song becomes muddied when things like love, jealousy, and not-being-Barry-Manilow get in the way. Nevertheless, they persist, and getting to witness the ways in which their friendship affects their work (and vice versa) is a refreshingly real glimpse into what it can often feel like to be a creative person in this world.

…and what happens when those dreams change.

I won’t give anything away, but for an 80-minute musical, these characters truly do all get their own moments to shine, to change, and to learn what they really want is not necessarily what they’ve been going after. In the pursuit of success, we watch our heroes try to juggle romance, writer’s block, and the culture that turned concerts into 2-hour Instagram story content grabs. In the same way each of us have had goals that’ve shifted or dreams that’ve matured, Regina Comet and Co. realize, in real time, that what they thought they wanted isn’t necessarily what will make them happy.

Come for the foot-tappingly fun tunes, stay for the hashtag real world wisdom.

It’s the perfect show for any occasion (and any show-goer).

Date night? Family in town? Group of college friends looking for a unique hang? Whatever has you frantically Google-searching “fun things to do this week NYC,” you can rest your thumbs for the next month knowing that Regina Comet is available to meet your needs. I can’t think of a single person in my life who wouldn’t get something out of this totally original, sometimes-heartwarming and always-laugh-out-loud funny musical.

Tickets are accessible and affordable, the theatre is in a trendy, fun spot that’s out of the chaos of Times Square, and the clout that comes with seeing a new show before anyone else in your circle is worth the price of admission alone!

Catch A Commercial Jingle For Regina Comet now through November 14th at the exclusive price of $39, only on TodayTix.