Dallas Theater Center
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“Imagine an R-rated version of a Disney Channel musical, and you’re ready for the pep, pop, and wink-wink naughtiness that is Give It Up!” said Joe Leydon in Variety. Based “very loosely” on Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, playwright-librettist Douglas Carter Beane’s musical imagines a group of cheerleaders at fictional Athens U. conspiring to withhold sex from their basketball-player boyfriends until the school’s team starts winning. The ultimatum sets off a showdown between head cheerleader Lysistrata Jones and her boyfriend, as he and the team try to get the girls to, as they say, “give it up.” Beane peppers the dialogue with one-liners and topical allusions to everything from “wise Latinas” to Tiger Woods, while a score full of “pop concoctions” by composer Lewis Flinn keeps the action “bouncy and occasionally bawdy.”
Beane’s imitation of Aristophanes “doesn’t quite ring true in the update,” said Lawson Taitte in The Dallas Morning News. “Does anybody actually know any jocks that don’t play to win?” Fortunately, the show veers from the source material and becomes more of a “love story about finding something deeper than sexual attraction in a mate.” Beane makes us laugh, “heartily and often,” but it’s really the production that makes Give It Up! shine. Director-choreographer Dan Knechtges has cast “some of the best musical talent in America”—led by “bombshell” Patti Murin as Lysistrata. “Text all your BFFs and pass on the news.” Give It Up! is “hot, hot, hot.”
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