“Bleeding Love” Musical Podcast, Review by Andrea Santo Felcone

I miss going to live theater, and what makes it harder still is not knowing when it will be possible to sit in a theater again (or when I will feel comfortable doing so). But, thankfully, theater folk are creative, problem-solving types, and they have found ways around our current situation, to the benefit of theater-lovers everywhere. The show must go on— right? I had the recent pleasure of spending time hunkered down in my basement, (I know it doesn’t sound all that pleasant, but it was), listening to an entertaining and smartly-executed musical, “Bleeding Love” now available on the Broadway Podcast Network, performed as a musical podcast—with a stellar cast of Broadway powerhouses.

Bleeding Love Musical Podcast

Now, you do not have to hunker down in your basement to enjoy “Bleeding Love”, but it does kind of set the stage nicely since the subject matter is a bit dark. In fact, the show is set in a post-apocalyptic world that has grown so dangerous parents won’t let their children outside. (Sound familiar?) There’s also no sunlight any longer due to extreme climate change. (Hopefully, this is not next.) In this backdrop, a sequestered teen cellist, a gifted cellist, named Bronwyn (2-time Tony nominee SARAH STILES, Tootsie) is kept home by her bedridden aunt, Madame Floy (ANNIE GOLDEN, Hair, “Orange Is The New Black”).

A world too dangerous to go outside? How is this possible that a show could be this “on the pulse” of what is happening in our world today? At first, I thought this work was written in response to the pandemic, but that timeline didn’t make sense as the music/songs were recorded with the actors together—and could never have been started and finished before the quarantine. I have come to find out, this is all a major coincidence, seeing as the show has been in development since 2010, with the demo recordings done in 2016! It is equally amazing to note that the dialogue was performed with each actor isolated in his/her own home. You would NEVER know this—the editing is flawless. It’s an incredibly relevant show that has found its time, and hopefully, given this complicated world, it will find its audience.

Now, let’s get into the detail: against this dark post-apocalyptic backdrop, a series of unrequited love relationships play out: Sweet William, (TAYLOR TRENSCH, To Kill A Mockingbird, Dear Evan Hansen) is the son of Bronwyn and Floy’s apartment Super (3-Time Tony Nominee MARC KUDISCH, Girl From The North Country, “The Tick”). Sweet William likes Bronwyn, but Bronwyn likes Puppy, (TONY VINCENT from American Idiot, “The Voice”), a rebel punk. However, Puppy likes Lolli (REBECCA NAOMI JONES, Oklahoma!, American Idiot) another undesirable character—as she’s a drug-user/mean bully. The unrequited love chain ends there as Lolli really only likes herself. Lolli asks Puppy to prove his love by getting her a live, red rose (knowing that nothing grows anymore). Bronwyn thinks she can help Puppy (and thus prove her love for him, and maybe sway his feelings in her direction?) She may have a lead on a live red rose, but she will have to use William to get to his deceased mother’s rooftop greenhouse. Perhaps her eloquent cello playing will revive the dead roses? Music is useful in dark times, isn’t it? (An important theme that will resonate with today’s audience.)

This musical was suggested by Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose” a short story where true love requires a supreme sacrifice. Bronwyn finds herself willing to risk quite a lot for Puppy, so much so, that she sacrifices her morals and much more. Some of the sound effects are disturbing (there’s some vomiting sounds, which I could have done without). However, the performances are absolutely stellar and there are threads of hope throughout, especially in the endearing character of Bronwyn. The performances will stay with you as you go about analyzing the work in the days to come. And though it’s dark, it’s comic too. When the Narrator states that everyone goes from “there to here” now, because no one’s gone from “here to there” in a long time—I laughed out loud. In fact, the Narrator stayed with me as I found myself imitating him throughout my day. Picture a gruff Film Noir voice here: “Andrea moves slowly to the freezer to grab something for dinner. She’s feeling uninspired…. Is it the pandemic, or just the usual desire not to cook after 78 straight days?” Anyway, give this a listen and see if you don’t find yourself doing the same.

You can listen to the entire show in one sitting (comes in at about 1 ½ hours), or you can listen to one episode at a time as it has been recorded in three podcast episodes. I listened to this episodically, each episode on a different night, and this gave me something to look forward to each night. The night I listened to Episode 2, I had just driven that day for the first time in 80 days. Listening to the song, “It’s Just A Street”–a showstopper–where Bronwyn is about to set foot out of her apartment for the first time, was as if the creators had set my day to music! It was incredible how much I connected to what she was feeling. (I think that song will now be my new theme song.)

So, “yes,” I miss going to live theater. So much of live theater is the combined experience of the senses. I miss costumes and sets and colors and Broadway’s pageantry. But, listening to this podcast I was surprised at how vivid everything was. I would recommend this for adults and older teens; it was a campy, thought-provoking show (not really appropriate for younger children). So, in the end, did “Bleeding Love” prove music is useful? “Yes”, very definitely “yes”. Especially now.

You can listen to “Bleeding Love” WHEREVER you listen to podcasts, or visit Broadway Podcast Network: https://broadwaypodcastnetwork.com/podcast/bleeding-love-a-post-apocalyptic-new-musical-podcast/ to find it there. The Broadway Podcast Network (BPN) is the premiere digital destination for everyone, everywhere who loves theatre and the performing arts.



lyrics by HARRIS DORAN

directed and edited by HARRIS DORAN

produced by DORI BERINSTEIN, ALAN SEALES and the Broadway Podcast Network


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