Review: MYSTIC PIZZA at The John W. Engeman Theatre

Northport's gorgeous John W. Engeman Theatre certainly has another hit on their hands with their current offering of Mystic Pizza.

Northport's gorgeous John W. Engeman Theatre certainly has another hit on their hands with their current offering of Mystic Pizza. Indeed, this is a new jukebox musical that is an adaptation of the adorable 1988 Julia Roberts movie. In other words, they took the rom-com's story and sprinkled it with some of our favorite hits from the 80's.


Wonderfully directed by Engeman regular Igor Goldin, the female-led tale centers on three friends in their early-mid twenties in the waterfront town of Mystic, Connecticut. We follow them, figuring out life's ups and downs, as we all can relate to at that age. They all work hard at a pizza restaurant - hence the title - on the brink of closure and navigating relationships. Each has their own story, but they all come together to support and encourage one another. Additionally, it is great to see how well show creator Sandy Rustin pretty much kept in line with the movie incarnation.


Emily Rose Lyons is excellent as Daisy, Ms. Roberts' role in the movie. Daisy's younger sister is Kat, adorably portrayed here by Brooke Sterling. Indeed, the sisters are very much opposites. Kat, in addition to working at the pizza shop, is going Yale for astronomy and works at the planetarium. Kat also picks up a job babysitting all to raise money for school. Kat is a very hard working and disipline person. Daisy's goal is to have as much fun as possible. Their friend, Jojo portrayed by Michelle Beth Herman, contemplates if she wants to marry Bill, portrayed by Stephen Cerf. Another audience favorite is Kathryn Markey superbly portrays Leona, the owner of Mystic Pizza. I really could go on and on (and on!) about the cast, as they are all top-notch. It is a delightful, charming show and everyone in the brilliant cast seems to be enjoying their time in this production.


On the clever creative team, Kyle Dixon's set is well done. It's a relatively stationary set, and several rolling pieces are utilized, making for seamless scene transitions. This is heightened by Jose Santiago's superb lighting design and, of course, there's nothing like a live orchestra. Headed up by sensational Music Director Sarah Wussow, the excellent orchestra sounds incredible. As for the score, you will hear some of the 80's biggest hits. This is including "Take My Breath Away", "Small Town", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", and "Hold On" among many others, and the emotional roller coaster of a story is really gripping. An interesting choice was including Melissa Ethridge's "I'm The Only One" which - if I remember correctly - was released in the early 90's. But, as they say... a reason for everything.


And so, this is a delicious show to see as we sadly wind down the Summer. You really can't go wrong at this exquisite venue. A brilliant, broadway-caliber cast, a relatable yet emotional story, and fun music make for a great night of theatre.



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