New CLO musical comedy lots of fun for cast, audience
When folks enter The CLO Cabaret, they are walking into a television studio, about to become the audience for a hit show.
“Judge Jackie Justice — A New Musical Comedy,” is making its world debut at the Cabaret and is the brainchild of Civic Light Opera executive producer Van Kaplan, who directs this tongue-in-cheek courtroom comedy love story. The creative team of Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond gives the two-hour show some catchy songs and lines.
One of the amazing things is that the cast of five portrays 12 characters. The only performer in a one-character role is Kara Mikula, who does a wonderful job as the fiery-tongued tell-it-as-she-sees-it judge. Her antics are great and she is a vocal powerhouse.
Before the show opened for its world premiere, Mikula said she was having “so much fun” with the production. She described her character as a “tough cookie,” burned by love in the past, whose rulings reflect that experience.
She does a nice job integrating her story into what's going on in the courtroom with her cases.
Although the judge's heart has been hardened when it comes to romance, there are moments when there is a glimmer of what it was like the one time she was in love.
Although the show takes place in a courtroom, each case deals with young love — and the crazy things people are willing to do because of that special someone. Even though it takes her until the end of the show to realize it, the judge has her own romantic storyline.
“The show is also a love story between Jackie and the bailiff, Henry,” Mikula said.
Henry is played to by Jason Coll, who quickly becomes an audience favorite. His relaxed stage presence gives credibility to his character's dilemma — he's been in love with the judge for years but she has no idea.
“If You Only Knew” and “Henry's Confession” tell his heart-on-his-sleeve story. As the bailiff, Coll is responsible for making sure the “studio” audience knows what they are supposed to do and when — namely singing along with the theme song, “Judge Jackie Justice.” He serves as photographer when folks are invited onstage before taping begins to have their picture taken with the judge.
Coll, too, plays multiple characters.
“We have a cast of five who play the judge, Henry, Shane, Woman 1 and Man 1. They play all the other characters,” Mikula said. “They walk out one door as one character and back in another door as another character. Each character has a different costume and persona. It's a lot of fun.”
Those characters are brilliantly portrayed by Maggie Carr as Woman 1, Connor McCanlus as Man 1 and Jonathan Visser as Shane, the studio exec and other roles. Carr and McCanlus are the defendants and plaintiffs for cases that involve zombies, spaceships, furries and characters from a Renaissance Festival. They speak Pittsburgh-ese, do some rapping, and offer up some red-necked accents to create the different roles — and make one case funnier than the next.
Because it's a new musical, the songs aren't familiar to theater-goers but they are great and give the background for each case. Tunessuch as “Ain't No Drill,” “Like Your Mother Does,” “Poob!” and “My Daddy Hate Me; Mean Mean Daddy! (Baby)” are fun and sure to generate laughs.
The courtroom looks real, complete with the elevated judge's bench, the bailiff's table, and the podiums for the defendant and plaintiff. Unlike a courtroom — even those on television — members of this studio audience are randomly chosen to take part in the show.
The small cast of “Judge Jackie Justice” delivers big laughs. If the audience reaction is any indication, the show is on the road to becoming a hit. After all, when a show's leading man uses pizza to win his love's heart, it can't be anything but a success.
Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1916, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lincoln adopts vicious dog ordinance
- Retired McKeesport police officer to pay fine for involvement in gambling ring
- White Oak school starts foreign language academy program
- West Mifflin plans to make use of state rent-collection law
- Propel charter school network grows
- Steelworkers renew appeal for sanctions