Sunday, October 3, 2010

Theatre Review- Ned Massey's Bloodties


Ned Massey is the musical genius you’ve probably never heard of.
An abused child, Massey, who plays himself in this stunning production, vows to make it as a singer-songwriter. He even gets a message from God to go meet legendary producer John Hammond, Sr. who discovered Billie Holliday, Basie, Dylan and Springsteen among countless others. Working as a New York waiter, Ned serves a Hammond employee, and soon finds himself auditioning for and signed by the esteemed Hammond who deems him the next Dylan. Young, handsome, and more importantly a brilliant songwriter, Ned is groomed to be the next superstar. Tragically, though, their collaboration never comes to full fruition as Hammond suffers a stroke while they are recording his debut album. Faced with record company politics following Hammond’s death, stardom never occurs and Blood Ties poignantly deals with Ned’s unfulfilled dreams, volatile relationships, and the importance of forgiveness.
A stellar cast, most of whom play multiple roles, support a Broadway quality score. Katie Thompson as Ned’s wife is a standout and in one show-stopping number had the audience in tears and roaring in appreciation. Massey himself is as strong a singer-songwriter as you will find anywhere, and as an actor has the chops to pull off the role without it ever coming off as self-pitying or indulgent.
I do, however, question the choice of having an angelic narrator based on the film Wings of Desire. The majority of the group I attended with had never seen the Wim Wenders movie, and thus some of the references to it just plain went over our heads. And the first act could use a wee bit of tightening. But with those minor qualms out of the way, this is a show that is deeply moving, musically magnificent, and ultimately quite memorable.
Ned Massey has invested nearly a decade in nurturing this project. There is no doubt in my mind that it is time well spent as it’s apparent that the stardom that Hammond predicted for him a quarter of a century ago is finally right around the corner.
Bravo to all involved with this beautiful and inspirational piece of work.

--Evan Ginzburg

No comments:

Post a Comment