Recently opened Path to Catherine, a new musical about the progression of Catherine the Great to power, is playing through April at the tiny but adorable Brickhouse Theatre in North Hollywood.
Sometimes, big things come in small packages. A show with three actresses and an orchestra of also three, one’s expectations are elevated from the first note of the overture. The score and songs by book writer Patricia Zehentmay and composer Jan Roper is haunting and beautiful at the same time, with songs that easily advance the story and some actually are hummable upon exiting.
When our actresses first get on stage, one takes pause thinking it might be taking note from the Schuyler sisters from Hamilton, but no — these women, these characters, these performers — take their own path and soon make you feel the only thing in common with Hamilton are the costumes and the period in time,
We start things off from Queen Elizabeth’s point of view, played by the wonderful Robyn Roth, who for a split second reminds us of Nora Dunn. But Dunn could never belt out the songs with so much emotion that Roth does. She is somewhat pitted again Jessica Reiner-Harris’ Joanna, who pulls all stops to make sure her daughter Sophie (Elise Walters) who is actually the woman on the path to becoming Catherine.
These three women make a winning combination and all have their moments. It’s likely very tough in a small theatre to stay in character as the audience in the adorable venue can literally reach out and tough the cast. Any sneeze or cough can be heard so it’s so fortunate that the attendees did follow the rules and stay off their phones (which really should be at theatres of any size).
The female-driven production with women also behind the scenes as well is a really terrific show in the making and we all should keep it on our radar. The songs can stand alone and be enjoyed without the benefit of seeing the show.
But don’t skip the show! It’s scheduled for Saturday nights and Sunday matinees and closes May 1.
Be sure to get COVID information and tickets at https://thepathtocatherine.bpt.me.