Put together melodrama, ragtime, slapstick and satire and what have you got: A) Vaudeville and Burlesque; B) The American economic system; or C) An normal night at The Heritage Square Opera House? If you answered D) All of the above, you're right. And that's what's in store for you, for better or for worse, as those wild and crazy people wind down their run of Easy Money-or-The Streets of New York, written, composed and directed by local talent Frank Oden.
Oden's story is loosely based on a drama popular during the mid-Nineteenth Century in this country, when lack of banking regulations allowed banks to print their own money-a policy which lead to widespread fraud, regular banking panics, blood-sucking interest rates and rampant unemployment and poverty. Nowadays, this type of activity has been shifted to savings and loan thieves such as Reagan, Keating, and Neal Bush and the credit card industry which just recently bribed Congress into withdrawing long-established bankruptcy protection for those whose circumstances have soured. So, rather than the resurgence of debtor prisons, we will have a gradual reintroduction of indentured servitude, unless you happen to be the President's brother or a campaign contributor.
All this should make the story rather relevant. However, despite the fine voices and well-developed improvisational skills of Heritage Square Opera House's experienced troupe, the potentially meaningful aspects of this drama get lost in mugging and caricature, which may elicit the intended guffaws but leaves us a bit hollow, wistful for a modicum of social commentary.
Heritage Square Opera House's Easy Money runs through March 27th. Box office: 303-279-7800.