Seldom has quirk felt more like work than sitting through “Ernest Shackleton Loves Me,” a new Off Broadway musical that opened Sunday at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theatre after runs in Seattle, Boston and New Jersey.
The one-act musical doesn’t just embrace its offbeat premise but fairly wallows in it — seeking to tell the parallel stories of a struggling single-mom artist (in Brooklyn, natch) and the real-life Antarctica explorer Ernest Shackleton and his travails way south of the border a century ago. (Alexander V. Nichols’ impressive production design includes projections of actual footage from his expeditions.)
How do you combine such disparate plots? The playwright Joe DiPietro, whose credits include “Memphis” and that suburban chestnut “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” has devised a doozy of a setup: He keeps his heroine (played forthrightly by the electric violinist Val Vigoda, who also wrote the show’s lyrics) up for 36 straight hours and has her hallucinate the great explorer (an energetic Wade McCollum) after recording a music video for a dating web site.
Read the full review at TheWrap.