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Playing at: Gallaudet University: Estad Auditorium
Remaining performances: July 16 at 1:15 pm, July 22 at 10:15 pm, July 24 at 6:30 pm. Tickets available here.
They say: A farcical musical about a condo-dwelling, Chipotle-loving, insufferably liberal Arlingtonian who starts a movement to get Northern Virginia to secede from the Rest of Virginia.
Mike’s take: Regional chauvinism is a ripe target for satire, especially in This Town, one that often forgets that the majority of people in this region live in that vast wilderness of available parking and affordable restaurants called The Suburbs. SuperNOVA gets some of it right, mostly the way many Northern Virginians sneer at their red state neighbors to the south, at least until they’re priced out of the area and join them. Of course, this economic displacement is but one part of a chain that begins with being priced out of D.C. Thus a lot of the easy gags about NOVA—the gourmet fast food, the Starbucks, the insufferable liberal career climbers—are better suited to D.C. in 2016. For one thing, a more accurate portrayal of Northern Virginia wouldn’t have such a uniformly white cast as SuperNOVA’s. Because as D.C. has become whiter, the suburbs have become less so (and, in the case of Prince William County, majority Latino).
But this is a satire about suburban yuppies that reflects the attitudes of D.C. yuppies, the kind who don’t make it out past Clarendon. And it’s a farce, so if the insults are a little over the top, at least there are some nice digs on both sides, from the smug NOVA assholes who rail against “those hillbillies in southern Virginia” to the feverish nightmares from downstate of the “people’s republic of Northern Virginia,” complete with latte radicals waving red flags. When secession comes, the Republican state delegates in Richmond shrug “it’s either keeping Virginia unified or repealing healthcare, you have to choose your battles.” Playwright-director-composer-choreographer-actor Alex Bulova writes with some experience here as a scion of Fairfax’s Bulova political dynasty, including father and Virginia state delegate David Bulova and grandmother and Fairfax County Board chair Sharon Bulova.
There’s the barest skeletal structure of a story, which mostly exists to take up space between songs. SuperNOVA checks off the basic musical formula (large opening and closing ensemble numbers, big dreams solo, lost love lament) without really filling in the rest. And if most of the songs are corny, well, that comes with the territory. Few audiences could appreciate a whole musical number about filibustering; Nerdtown, USA is about the only place where that’s conceivable.
See it if: That Arlington Rap video hit too close to home
Skip it if: You live anywhere outside the Orange Line corridor