Calvin Berger is your typical high school nerd, smart and funny in his way but lacking in self-confidence, in this case because he thinks nose is too big. Isn't that always the way, we see our flaws first and think that everyone else sees them too, when really they're too busy with their own lives to notice. In fact we learn in the opening number that all of these characters, even the ones who appear to have everything, are insecure about something. Calvin's best friend is a girl named Bret, who secretly pines for him (a plot point that's familiar to children of the '80s). But Calvin only has eyes for the pretty popular Rosanna, who worries that she may never be anything more. When Rosanna asks Calvin to help her get to know the cute new guy Matt, he reluctantly agrees. Matt's insecurity is his inability to talk to girls, so like Cyrano does for Christian, Calvin gives Matt the words he lacks to help him woo Rosanna. The story diverges from the original (spoiler alert: nobody dies), and the truth is eventually revealed. Everyone learns that it's better to be who you are than pretend to be someone else, and is happier for it.
|Matt and Calvin - "We're the Man!"|
(Logan Greene and Gregory Adam, photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp)
|Calvin, Bret, and Rosanna in the home of the Cavaliers|
(Gregory Adam, Kecia Rehkamp, and Emily Madigan,
photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp)
Calvin Berger is a really cute show, and I don't mean that in a condescending way; cute can be good and pleasant and everything you want sometimes. It's a sweet, charming, funny show, with a great young cast that is fun to watch. Playing at the New Century Theatre through February 15 (discount tickets available on Goldstar).
This article also appears on Broadway World Minneapolis.