‘Nobody Loves You” Brings Loads of Laughs
at Horizon Theatre
The Off-Broadway hit musical comedy “Nobody Loves You” is one of the funniest most entertaining shows I’ve seen in years. Whether you love or disdain reality TV, this smartly written show will make you squeal as you watch TV-reality characters and producers behave as badly as they do on reality TV.
Mainly a cross between “The Bachelor” and “Big Brother,” “Nobody Loves You” is a reality TV show in which singles compete to find a mate and become the last couple standing. Think of the most neurotic, obnoxious characters you’ve seen on any reality show, add rhetoric and steroids, and meet the candidates. There’s super intense Samantha (Leslie Bellair), the Christian right, Christian (Ben Thorpe) and the seductress bombshell Megan (Jennifer Alice Acker), who in the hot-tub room thrusts her hips into Christian, pulls off his belt, spreads her legs and tells him to “come on in.” Although the characters are more than lively, they are no more over-the-top or unreal than the characters on reality TV.
Representing those who hate TV reality shows is Jeff (Patrick Wade), who says reality shows are only as real as the breasts on those shows. After his girlfriend, Tanya (Wendy Melkonian), dumps him at the end of a season to apply to be on the show to find someone who is better suited for her, he applies to be on the show to get her back. After joining the cast, he discovers that Tanya was not chosen as a cast member. He decides to stay anyway to write about stupid, “unreal reality TV” as part of his dissertation for his master’s degree. Nina (Melkonian), the show’s producer/director, encourages him to stay and state his true thoughts about reality TV as it shows how real the TV show really is.
The show’s host, Byron (Brad Raymond), brings “The Bachelor” show’s Chris Harrison to life with the same cock of the head and the same smirk with outstretched arms as he talks with viewers and the contestants. Byron also sings silly songs, sometimes in the style of Luther Vandross. Then, he sends contestants home because “Nobody loves you.”
You’ve seen characters like this: Dominic (Austin Tijerina), who tries to be hip and cool and to impress women by showing off his abs, acts similarly as the character “The Situation” from “Jersey Shore.” And there’s a scene that looks like something right out of “Big Brother” when Jeff wins the cupid staff, giving him the right to decide which contestants will room together. Evan (Tijerina), the gay roommate of Jeff’s love interest, Jenny (Jeanette Illidge), who works behind the scenes on the show, is hilarious as he sings and live-tweets about each episode.
I’ve never seen a full episode of “Jersey Shore” or “Big Brother,” but I’ve seen enough to see how “Nobody Loves You” parodies them as well as “The Batchelor,” a show I hate to admit to watching, religiously. “Nobody Loves You” is smart funny, not stupid funny. I and my companion, a 60-something-year-old straight male who practices law and does not watch reality TV, loved this show. Special shout out goes to Melkonian, who is outstanding in the three roles she plays.
Book & lyrics by Itamar Moses, music & lyrics by Gaby Alter, directed by Heidi McKerley, “Nobody Loves You” runs through April 30 at Horizon Theatre.
Itamar Moses is an American playwright, author, and television writer. He has been a staff writer for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, TNT’s Men of a Certain Age and most recently The Outsiders. Gaby Alter is an award-winning songwriter and composer based in Brooklyn. He writes for stage, television (MTV, PBS), film, radio (NPR), video games, and straight up pop songs.