Tonight’s the Night Review – The Virtual Us

Hartley Powers and Eric Petersen in TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT - Photo by Marshall Harvey

A toast to Zoom reunions, TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT celebrates all of those singles turned into Zoomers as they search for that “one and only” during the time of the pandemic. A world premiere streaming musical, this Kritzerland tribute comes just in time for Valentine’s Day. With music, lyrics, and direction by Bruce Kimmel – Kritzerland’s original landlord – and musical direction and orchestrations by Richard Allen, TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT is planned as a fund-raiser for the Group Rep, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization trying to survive the COVID closure of its theater.

Hartley Powers – Photo by Marshall Harvey

TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT cleverly tells the tale of two such seekers who knew each other twenty years ago and try, for better or worse, to reunite again. He’s a CPA who searches out his old high school flame on Facebook, contacts her, and sets up a meeting on Zoom. He’s coming from two failed marriages and a pre-pubescent daughter who lives with him. She’s an older and much wiser version of her naïve teen self who remembers him all too well as her first true love. As they tunefully navigate their way through the twists and turns of a shared history and their eventual breakup – a break-up that each recalls very differently – their meeting evokes passion, poignancy, and painful recollections.

Eric Petersen – Photo by Marshall Harvey

TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT stars Eric Petersen and Hartley Powers, both of whom do an excellent job of portraying the humorous, tender, and sometimes confused and even vengeful pair who don’t know what to expect. The original songs are often ingenious, with lyrics astutely outlining conflicts and taking the audience on a trip through the lives and emotions of a lonely pair. The music is a cunning study of relationships – why they succeed or fail – and whether or not it’s rational to hope for new beginnings. It certainly helps that both Petersen and Powers know how to belt out a tune. And let’s not forget Eric’s real-life daughter Sophie, who plays his daughter in the show too.

A few technical notes to impress the technology-minded viewer: Hartley and Eric self-taped the music and never sang together or did a scene together. Editor Marshall Harvey and the two performers made it look as if they were relating and responding in real time. The perfect Zoom date!

Eric Petersen and Hartley Powers – Photo by Marshall Harvey

TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT runs for three streamed performances only (6 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10; 6 p.m. on Friday, February 12; and 5 p.m. on Sunday, February 14, 2021). The three performances are free on YouTube. For information and donations to the Group Rep, call 818-763-5990 or go online. Kritzerland will be adding the show and music for purchase in the near future on the Kritzerland webside.

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