Review – Sincerely, Oscar

Sometimes a theatre production makes an unfortunate decision that mars or hobbles a show. When a series of unfortunate decisions are made in one show you get “Sincerely, Oscar” at the Acorn Theater on Theater Row.

It is certainly an earnest effort by Doreen Taylor, a singer with a strong set of pipes, who conceived and wrote the script.

There is no subtlety or insight to the production, narrated by actor Bob Meenan as the famous composer in an impressive and likely expensive hologram. The script is a simple recitation of his work with Jerome Kern and Richard Rogers. The clunky machinery to display the hologram is constantly set in place and removed, slowing the pace of the production. But I looked forward to his presence as the warmest and most compelling part of of the show.

The constant projections on the background are constantly unimaginative and too much on the nose. Much of the first half include “spelled out” images – a cow is created use the letters C-O-W, a fish is built by using F-I-S-H, a cloud is – okay you get the idea. Why? Why?

Performer Azudi Onyejekwe (recently of The Great Comet) is horribly and conspicuously underutilized as he is often chased offstage by scene stealer Doreen Taylor, even for duets he should be part of.

The arrangements are written in 1970’s Progressive Jazz style which robs the great old music to a simple through line and also bleeds Ms. Taylor’s renditions of any chance for deep expression. While the band is good it feels as if they turned up at the wrong stage with the wrong sheet music.

Sorry, I have no reason to recommend this show, despite the investment of a lot of money and time. Unless you want to see a show that is entirely off the rails. Your choice.

As always you can find more at and on Twitter @walterthinnes

#ATOBTTR update – OK Cincinnati Reds, glad you at least split the San Fran Series, but note we are still sub .500 and need to start winning to get to the playoffs. I like that we win big when we win but we have to take those one run games. That’s baseball. Nick, we’re delighted you are aboard and are having a good start. Now get out there and take down Oakland. Go Reds!

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