A giant lock screen glows the date and time in the back wall, while piles of glowing, colorful pixels cascade around the circuit board floor. We are inside a cellphone and visiting Emojiland, the hilarious, poignant but not too serious show that is pure comfort food. It is the perfect antidote to our techno-centric world. Written by newcomers Keith Harrison and Laura Schein and now enjoying an extended off-Broadway run, this charming musical tells the tale of emojis just living their lives until an upgrade brings fear and doubt to the land. The imperious leader decrees that a virus threatens their safety, and that all emojis that are new are not to be trusted. A firewall must be constructed, she says, to ensure their continued existence. Yes, this is a topical show, and it's point is clearly made, but mostly it is just a fun escape.
|Selfie! The Emojiland Company|
|"The Progress Bar"|
|Nerd Face and Smize|
George Abud and Laura Schein
In what amounts to a cameo, theater favorite Ann Harada is a scream as 💩. Clearly having a ball, she is the master of underplaying for laughs in her big act two number, "Pile of Poo." (❤ her costume!) Two other current masters of physical musical comedy are giving it 200% and the audience laps it up like a cat with cream. Lesli Margherita is all legs and laughs as 👸, particularly riotous in "Princess is a Bitch," a song that is exactly what you imagine. Josh Lamon is just as funny as the childlike 🤴. Both of these masters now how to play everything just over the top, knowing when to stop and never wearing out their welcome. They have a gift and know just how to use it.
|Princess Lesli Margherita|
It is smart, sassy and endlessly fun. And it really keeps your attention - didn't see a single audience member sneaking a look at their cell phone! Trust me. You'll enjoy your trip to Emojiland!
📸: J. Kyler, J. Daniel