BOTTOM LINE: one-woman show, charming and hysterical
It might be because I found The Sound of One Hanna Clapping super relatable, but I really enjoyed Hanna LoPatin's one-woman saga of being a mid-twenties, single Chicagoan who yearns for a successful career in theatre with a dreamboat husband waiting at home.
First of all, the pre-show music to One Hanna Clapping was a fabulous taste of what was to come. As I sat there looking at the cabaret-ish stage (complete with piano and coat rack holding a bowler hat) I listened to the most obviously girl-power musical theatre anthems ever..."Take Me or Leave Me" from Rent, "And I'm Telling You" from Dreamgirls, and finally "Defying Gravity" from Wicked. My expectations were high for the musical theatre love letter I was about to experience. Plus, I give credit for self-referential, inside jokey pre-show music.
Hanna LoPatin is an improv comedian who wrote this one-woman show detailing her life and where she hopes to go. The premise isn't innovative, but it's real. LoPatin talks out to the audience and lets us in as she tells her story. Through her comedic abilities (and the comical direction by SNL veteran Ana Gasteyer), One Hanna Clapping is an incredibly entertaining ride. LoPatin splices her monologues and stories with original songs (she also plays guitar). The content ranges from being Jewish but not too Jewish, to forays into the Chicago theatre scene and the selling out she's encountered, to her desire for a career in musical theatre, to her undying love for Michael Showalter. The all-encompasing theme is that one can find happiness through the journey, not just when dreams are realized.
LoPatin is a talented comedian with a great voice...she's certainly deserving of a successful career in the theatre (if not as a performer than at least as a writer). And you should see her show because it's full of heart and it's super funny.
The Sound of One Hanna Clapping plays at the Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street south of Spring St. Show times: Friday, August 22nd at 8:30pm; Saturday, August 23rd at 1:30pm. For more info and tickets visit hannalo.com or fringenyc.org.