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THEATER REVIEW: Nick Cearley gives his all in “... And Then I Wrote A Song About It”

Poor little gay boy Randall (Nick Cearley) makes … well, if not good, at least a life for himself in the one-man musical “… And Then I Wrote A Song About It,” in its West Coast premiere through April 10 at Diversionary Theatre.

With a book by Eric H. Weinberger, music by Daniel S. Acquisto and lyrics by Sammy Buck (all of whom have extensive theater credits), this little show breaks no new ground, but does what it does with relative grace and humor.

Son of a German immigrant and Holocaust survivor, Randall chafes when dad drafts him to work in the family sausage import and sales business. Randall isn’t a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy; he dreams of a career in show business – as a singer-actor-dancer-songwriter.

To that end, he takes dance lessons, demonstrating (in his skivvies), realizing too late that the blinds are up and nine of his neighbors are watching from their windows.

You can imagine how this goes over with dad, who doesn’t understand his son’s frivolousness – and fears the answer to the question “Are you queer?”

Randall’s road to stardom encounters more bumps than a kid with measles; he endures a string of temporary jobs and one-night stands, flops in several auditions, eventually even has to move home again. But none of that dampens his capital-O optimism; he continues to pursue his dream with more perseverance than seems reasonable for someone with Randall’s record of failure.

The songs are pleasant enough, though largely forgettable. Two exceptions are “One Night Stand,” in which Randall hopes this one will at least stay for breakfast; and “The Lobster And You,” a love song to old friend Barry, who died of AIDS.

Cearley carries this slight but demanding piece with lithe grace, inexhaustible energy and a light but pleasant voice that miking would help.

His impersonations of others – such as dad, with his heavy German accent and a Latina bank loan officer – are a hoot. Kudos also to conductor/pianist Thomas Hodges and percussionist Bradley Sattler

Igor Goldin (who directed and took the hugely popular “Yank!” off-Broadway and is now in the planning stages for its Broadway debut) has the same aspirations for “... And Then I Wrote A Song About It.”

This isn’t a show you’ll remember forever, but it’s a pleasant and amusing feel-good distraction from the real world.

The details

“... And Then I Wrote A Song About It’ plays through April 10 at Diversionary ‘Theatre, 4545 Park Blvd., No. 101.

Thursday at 7:30 p.m.; Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 3 and 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m.

For tickets, call (619) 220=0097 or visit HERE.

To read more reviews by SDGLN Theater Critic Jean Lowerison, click HERE.