There’s an enthusiasm and energetic playfulness in The New Line Theater’s production of “Cry-Baby” that evokes some very clever laughs and lots of nostalgic friskiness. It’s a hallmark of the kind of amicably provocative show New Line likes to produce.
“Cry-Baby” takes us back to the 1950s when you were either from the cool side of the tracks or you were one of “them.” The bomb, the babes, the mindless prejudice, French kissing, mortal versus venial sins, the dreaded plague of bland thinking and an innocence that made you actually believe you could protect yourself from an atomic blast by hiding under your wooden desk were all signs of the times.
“Cry-Baby” details the familiar storyline of the good kids and the bad kids, and what happens when forbidden romance blooms between the groups. The role of Cry-Baby is a young man whose parents were executed for a crime then didn’t commit. Cry-Baby is a kind of James Dean with a guitar.
The score of “Cry-Baby” is comically indicative of the show. The overture from six piece band on stage contains theater etiquette suggestions for the audience. The opening number, “The Anti-Polio Picnic” is a howl. “Thanks for the Nifty Country” and “I’m Infected” were particularly funny.
Zachary Allen Farmer, who is billed as Judge Stone and Everybody Else, is very funny and consistently a cast standout. The balance of the ensemble is somewhat inconsistent in their performance and experience levels, but the evening never drags even though some moments miss their potential.
“Cry-Baby” will be onstage at New Line through March 24th. For schedules and directions, click on the link below. The New Line Theater is in its 21st season. Talented Artistic Director Scott Miller has developed an enjoyable niche for his theater that is unique, important and always fun.