Theatre Row, Manhattan

By Andrew Andrews

Dash(Jon Viktor Corpuz) and Adrian (Angel Lin) map out their route for Interstate at the Acorn Theatre in Theatre Row. Original photo by Russ Rowland Photography.

It’s hard to imagine why someone would want to give up living in New York City to hit the open road. Sure, a change of scenery now and then is a Good Thing™, but once you’ve lived “on the islands,” a visit to “the mainland” can seem more like a foreign country than merely a different place—a different “state of mind” more than a different state of the Union. And it seems that would be especially true if you’re trans, or a lesbian, knowing that conservative Middle America can be the last place to accept anyone brave enough to step outside the box and be the person they really are.

But giving up New York for the Interstate is exactly what Dash (Jon Viktor Corpuz) and Adrian (Angel Lin) have decided to do in this offering from Musical Theatre Factory, Melissa Li and Kit Yan, part of the New York Musical Festival spreading along West 42nd Street for the next few weeks. With twelve productions, eight concerts, ten readings and five other events, the festival has something for everyone remotely interested in musical theater. And this year, that includes a great musical about the band Queer Malady, featuring spoken-word trans performer Dash and his best friend, a lesbian singer-songwriter named Adrian.

So why leave the comfort of the Big Apple for the uncertainty of mainland America? Because there are others out there who need to hear them, to hear their message, to hear that they are not alone. Not the least of whom is Henry (Sushma Saha), an American of Indian descent in the deep reaches of Kentucky, whose coming out to their conservative Christian parents did not work out as well as Dash’s coming out to his father, but whose coming out to the Internet was as inspirational to some other lonely souls as Queer Malady’s performances themselves.

Of course, we wouldn’t have a story if there wasn’t a lot of conflict along the road between New York and San Francisco. And besides the conflict you’re probably expecting, tension between Dash and Adrian gets stronger for reasons you might or might not imagine. All-in-all, the show is a bit of a mashup between Amy and the Orphans, Gemini Stars/Scorpio Stars and Growing Up Smith, full of catchy tunes nicely performed by the company (rounded out by Kiet Tai Cao, Esco Jouléy, Allison Linker, Michelle Noh and Andreas Wyder). In fact, we wish every musical—including some of the biggest on The Great White Way—had a soundtrack this good! So check it out, then come back here and let us know which parts had you singing along. Your reviews help others decide whether they should attend, and your ratings help us help you find future performances—musicals or otherwise—you’re sure to love!

Andrew Andrews attended Interstate at Theatre Row in Manhattan on Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 12:34pm to write this review.