Are you ready to rock? No, seriously, are you? Because Traveling Musicians, the glam-rock quartet straight out of the barnyard, are ready to help you find your inner animal.
This merry band of misfits is comprised of four multi-instrumentalist critters–a cat, a dog, a donkey and a rooster. Based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale, The Town Musicians of Bremen, the theatrical rock concert is brought to life by the Minneapolis-import theater company, 3 Sticks.
Billed as the reunion show for the aptly named “Rooster Donkey Cat Dog” (later changed to the much edgier moniker, “Cock Ass Pussy Bitch” or “CAPB”), this hour-long show is a silly, satirical romp through the lighter side of rock clichés. CAPB battles drug addiction (Donkey becomes hooked on sugar cubes), relentless groupies (Rooster’s harem of chicks), attempts to branch out as a bigger brand (Cat pursues a career in fashion), or rising above the rest (Dog, a born howler, is offered a solo gig), making for a tumultuous retrospective on their battles with fame and fortune.
This may sound like the most ridiculous concept ever–and it is, but this cast of talented musicians injects life, humor, and so much energy into what could be a plodding series of animal puns. Katie Hartman (Dog) stands out with her powerhouse voice and badass sense of humor (her solo “Bitch” brings the house down). Katie Melby (Cat) is wonderfully weird, with limbs akimbo, as she contorts and shapes herself into the lanky, luxurious feline. Jonas Earl (Donkey) is slow but never plodding, adding a stoner sense of hilarity to his performance (see his duet with Rooster “Inter-Species Love”). Composer (and Rooster) Andrew Lynch has incorporated music of many styles–from the beginnings as a folk quartet to their harder, faster, sexier pop, rock and even metal sounds as they ascend to stardom. The feat is impressive, and the music stays exciting and fresh with each number.
Traveling Musicians is a hysterical gem that is a testament to its strong, talented ensemble, and their wicked, witty sensibilities. They aren’t afraid to be dirty, bad, and racy, even when decked out as the simplest of Old MacDonald’s brood. It’s a children’s concept done up for adults, but remains smart in its frivolity. A hootin’, howlin’, grand old time.
Traveling Musicians was part of the 2012 FRIGID NEW YORK FESTIVAL which ran February 22-March 4 at The Kraine Theater & The Red Room (85 East 4th Street between 2nd Ave and Bowery) and UNDER St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place between 1st Ave and Ave A).