Bittergirl — the musical tells the story of getting dumped and getting over it in all-too-familiar ways. Life goes on, after all, as it did for original bitter girls and creators Annabel Fitzsimmons, Alison Lawrence, and Mary Francis when they turned their combined heartbreaks into a play, a book, and, now, a musical. The show succeeds because it is relatable, and with the help of some light-hearted hits from the 1960s, the Citadel Club becomes a club of dumpees laughing at the misfortunes of failed relationships both onstage and off.
It starts with the age-old scene of expecting a proposal and getting rejection. Then comes the stages of anger, denial, and depression, made manageable only by the God-given therapies of binge-eating, meditation, and micro-cleaning.
But passive misery doesn’t cut it, and hilarious negotiations ensue as bitter girls A, B, and C (Amanda LeBlanc, Tara Jackson, Rebecca Auerbach) ditch their dresses for spandex in an attempt to get fit quick and win back their exes. Their plan pans out as well as the shake weight gives them biceps (it doesn’t). But there’s still time for strategies like showing up at his house unannounced or guilting him with news of a rare and terminal illness. If all else fails, drink tequila.
All of this because of character D, the dumper (Jay Davis)—a Patrick Dempsey type who teeters between heart throb and fruit cake. Regardless, his smooth crooning and frequent hip thrusts keep the audience hooting and the ladies pleased.
The trio never miss a note on their musical road to recovery. Girl power is high by the end with a mandatory rendition of “I Will Survive,” backed by a band of all-female musicians to boot.
If the girls were ugly crying at the beginning, they’re holding their heads high now—and the key to reaching the stage of acceptance is undeniable. It’ll hurt, but with the right friends and a touch of sarcasm, a heart can heal. Just as they say in the play, the girls show us with music and martinis that it’s all about “taking yesterday’s heartache and turning it into tomorrow’s one-liner.”
Until Nov 6
Directed by Adam Brazier
Citadel Theatre, $25 — $80