‘Emojiland’ Theater Review: Kitschy Musical Finds Depth In Surprising Places
Set inside a smartphone, Emojiland might not seem like a promising place for a clever musical. But, like the magic of your phone, somehow it all works. This twisty tale begins in version 1.0 with the love affair between Smize (Girl With Smiling Eyes played by Laura Schein) and Sunny (Smiling Face WIth Sunglasses played by Jacob Dickey). But things, alas, never stay the same – when Version 5.0 brings Nerd Face (George Abud) who falls for Smize and tells her that Sunny is cheating on her with her best (emoji) friend. Throw in a diabolical plot by Skull (Lucas Steele) to kill all of the inhabitants of the phone and pandemonium ensues as a virus deletes every emoji in sight. Directed with aplomb by Thomas Caruso and story, book and lyrics by Keith Harrison and Schein, Emojiland walks a tightrope but never falls – in fact, it soars to the beat of the catchy pop score from the ridiculous to the sublime.
Emojiland is now playing off Broadway at the Duke Theater (229 W. 42nd Street, New York, N.Y.).