Review "White Noise": Hate the Hate but LOVE the Show!

Audio Podcast at ITUNES Week
narrated by Joshua Volkers
Holly Way, Jay Strommen, Jimmy Mack
Deborah Taylor/Chris Bensinger, Tom LeonardisIMG_0432.jpg
and Whoopi Goldberg present
At the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted
Music and lyrics by Robert Morris, Steve Morris and Joe Shane
Book by Mattie O’Brien
Direction and choreography by Sergio Trujillo
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 5pm and 8pm
Sundays 2pm and 5pm
Thru June 5th 
Running Time:  One hour and forty minutes with no intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
Volatile/Pageantry! Discordant/Harmonious! Horrific/Sensation! Whoopi Goldberg and friends present the world premiere of WHITE NOISE, a musical about falling into hate.  White supremacists are crusading for a better life. A Connecticut duo are celebrating a better life.  A music mogul sees the commercial viability in both acts with some major adjustments.  The Neo-Nazis go the pop-star route changing their tune from ‘Niggers Suck’ to ‘Mondays Suck.’  The modern-day Huxtables go gangsta rap switching up ‘Life, Liberty and Happiness’ for ‘Niggers Gonna Kill the White Boy.‘ The chart-busting results fester unsung conflict.  The Nazi sisters and Blood Brothers want to be true to their message. Who are the more unconscionable: the believers, the sellers, or the buyers of hate?  WHITE NOISE dazzles with a head-nodding, toe-tapping, shoulder-swaying beat… until the ‘Welcome to Auschwitz’ lyrics stiffen the experience.
Morris, Padgett, Mauzy, Murney - H II.jpg

Not a light-and-frothy-Rodgers-and-Hammerstein-Some-Enchanted-Evening, WHITE NOISE is a loud, provocative, upbeat spectacle.  It’s how musicals do rock concerts.  Under the direction and choreography of Sergio Trullio, the show ignites with an electrifying Janet-Jackson-80’s-flashback-with-Nazis-are-coming-stomped-in.  The pace is orchestrated chaos going from concert stage to Behind-The-Music.  In the middle of all the noise is a solid soundtrack composed by Robert Morris, Steven Morris and Joe Shane.  A lot of hate.  A little love. The controversial master race propaganda is spliced with poignant ballads.  ‘Not Your Enemy‘ soars with passionate opposition.  It’s sung in beautiful harmony by Mackenzie Mauzy (Eva), Emily Padgett (Eden) and Luba Mason (Laurel).  Under-utilized as the under-developed mother, Mason sings with an unforgettable allure. Mauzy and Padgett are twisted sisters.  Mauzy disturbs as the unapologetic, ranting, powerhouse songstress.  Mauzy transfixes with sexy, charisma.  Padgett provokes hope blurring the lines of tolerance.  Padgett’s performance captivates with a soulful melody.

Bringing the much-needed comedy relief to the intensity, Douglas Sills (Max) is deliciously smarmy.  Sills illustrates the musical industry’s marketing mania with hilarious lunacy. Not quite the singing sensation he represents, Sills relies heavily on his sidekick Eric William Morris (Jake) to carry the tune.  E.W. Morris charms with a strong voice and boy-next-door likability factor.  His personal struggle is relatable for it’s slippery-slope quality. In contrast, Patrick Murney scares as the deplorable shaved-head racist. The Blood Brothers, Rodney Hicks (Tyler) and Wallace Smith (Dion) marvelously transform from pop duet to gangsta rap

Hicks, Smith - H.jpg

to hip-hop country.  The dynamic duo lose the rugby shirts as ripped-for-your-pleasure eye candy. With some technical difficulty shortening his shtick on opening night, Michael Buchanan (Teal Waters) is terrific buffoonery as a bitchy-queen-podcaster.

WHITE NOISE isn’t in the background.  WHITE NOISE is in your face.  It blew me away with its politically-incorrect/thought-provoking content.  I hate the hate but I loved this show.   
With six seats of separation between him and Whoopi Goldberg, Dick describes it with ‘Whitetrash Nazi Sideshow.’


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  • I agree that Luba Mason's character needs a little work, but her voice sure doesn't. While it is supposed to be one of the big songs, "Not My Enemy" isn't preceded by much mother-daughter conflict, so it doesn't make much sense. In defense of Douglas Sills, I think he has a great voice but his singing displays some of the rough edges of his character in this show.

  • Agree with your review. I saw the show Friday. I think there is a real message here, but when will theater writers or movie writers for that matter ever get is not satisfying if we don't care. A strong-messaged show such as this has to get us invested in the relationships, mother/daughter, when the daughter denouncing the mother breaks our heart a little, because we have seen the tenderness or the sacrifice the mother has given for the success of the daughter. Or, why did the younger sister fall for the producer's assistant? when did that happen?? we don't see it, we also don't see the tender un-jaded core of the younger sister, so that we are not nearly as moved when we see her being pushed into hatred by her older sister. Her innocence lost forever. If there is no emotional investment, there is no emotional payoff. Look at "Westside Story"...we see the innocent young love, the tender loving Tony, the blind to color Maria, but prejudice has to be carefully taught as they say in "South Pacific". We see the tragedy, and we the audience learn something. This hatred and tragedy has been told 1000 times, Romeo and Juliet and beyond, all of them satisfying and poignant. "White Noise" has something here, I think take it to a two act show, and let us get invested in the simplistic and loving relationships, then let our hearts break when hatred and prejudice get in the way and ultimately a young life is lost.

  • Also, agreed. Douglas Sills has an amazing voice, just listen to The Scarlet Pimpernel or go see him live in a different vehicle. He is the real-deal, but more legit musical theater typically. He accomplishes what this role was written for...holding this show together as a cohesive piece...with a less skilled actor, they would have really been up the proverbial creek.

  • I'm in total agreement, Ayscel.

    Teal Waters is the character name of the music podcaster. The actor's name is Michael Buchanan.

  • In reply to nycjason:

    Thank you for letting me know. Apologies to Michael Buchanan!

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