This is the same kind of one-weekend event as the musical Tempest and Winter's Tale that I have seen in previous years, featuring a couple of professional actors plus A Significant Percentage Of New York. This year's Significant Percentage Of New York includes, among others:
- an extremely sparkly Greek chorus hilariously stolen straight from Disney's Hercules ("Olivia and Cesario: Illyria's newest power couple!" "Cesarolivia?")
- a brass band of sorrow that follows Olivia around for most of the first half of the play
- a set of very enthusiastic professional can-can dancers as backup for Malvolio
- ASL dancers from New York Deaf Theater to perform the song accompanying Viola's "Patience on a monument" speech
- the proud students of the Ziranmen Kung Fu Wushu Training Center as inspirational fight instructors for Viola and Sir Andrew Aguecheek
- an Official Mailman and Representative of the National Association of Letter Carriers to deliver Maria's letter to Malvolio (he very professionally made sure Malvolio signed for it, and probably got the most applause of anyone)
So all this was great, as it is always great, and all the extremely enthusiastic community Illyrians were ALSO great, but in addition to this it was just a really adorable adaptation of Twelfth Night! The music's fantastic. There's a fairly significant amount of time spent on Viola working through what stepping into her brother's role means to her -- they don't get all the way to genderqueer, but nobody asks to see her in her women's weeds at the end of the show, either. The song that Feste sings for Sir Toby's party scene is replaced by a musical roast titled "You're The Worst," with Feste on accordion. After Toby and Sir Andrew's verses, Toby tries to turn it back around on Maria and gets stumped: "Your name's ....Maria .... I ....really can't think of anything bad to say about you, you're basically the greatest." It's adorable. Everyone's adorable. MALVOLIO'S adorable! Feste shuts him in the boot of her car for the equivalent of the Sir Topas scene, and instead he pops defiantly out to sing a power ballad about how some people are born great, LIKE HIM, HE WAS BORN GREAT, AND HE'S JUST GOING TO GO ON BEING GREAT, THANKS. He gets his angry speech at the end, but they still pull him back up on stage to dance with everyone for the closing credits, because this is, at heart, an extremely good-natured production and even Malvolio is delighted to be there.
As a sidenote, Shaina Taub, who pretty much steals the show as a fourth-wall-breaking Feste ("Viola and Sebastian both think the other is dead ... I could just tell them, but then the play would be over and we spent all summer rehearsing!") also wrote all the music and lyrics for the show, because some people are unfair. She's apparently writing a musical right now about Alice Paul and the women's suffrage movement. SIGN ME UP.