SCKBSTD reviews

"SCKBSTD" intrigues at Virginia Stage

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 January 22, 2011

Charles Franklin (left) and Robert Cuccioli star in "SCKBSTD."

"SCKBSTD," the ambitious theater project based on the songs of Bruce Hornsby, is a new musical with an old-fashioned feel about it.

Set in a small Southern town, the show tackles numerous issues - marital conflicts, intergenerational family problems, coming of age and small-town hysteria - that play out in a 24-hour period against a strong story line about a mysterious stranger who comes to town. The original musical opened Jan. 21 at Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk.

The theme of the outsider who shows up and impacts the lives of those he encounters is a classic in Southern literature. There's a dark, creepy side to this stranger who's obsessed with traffic fatalities (the reason is revealed later) and who is labeled a "sick bastard" by the townspeople. One wonders if Hornsby has read many short stories by Flannery O'Connor and Eudora Welty?

Tony-nominated Robert Cuccioli starts out playing the stranger with just the right amount of behavioral dysfunction that makes you plenty worried when he connects with one of the town's teenagers. The standout cast includes Marcus Lovett as the town doctor, Jill Paice as his wife and William Parry as her father. Lovett and Paice blended nicely together in a bedroom scene, and Paice joined Jayne Patterson in "Where's the Bat?" a humorous number about frustrated wives.

copyright © 2011, Newport News, Va., Daily Press               Review: By David Nicholson


Bruce Hornsby musical is strong on lyrics and production

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By Mal Vincent      The Virginian-Pilot    January 22, 2011

Williamsburg resident Bruce Hornsby’s tunes effectively move from rock to New Orleans boogie woogie, from gospel hints to jazz motifs and even polka. The best novelty tune is “The Black Rats of London,”  with nods toward Jamestown and Yorktown.


A dark and paranoid version of small-town America, "SCKBSTD" is a highly ambitious effort to create what has become a rare find in theater - a musical with a plot or, at the very least, a story line.

The genre largely has been replaced in New York by the so-called "jukebox musicals" - shows made up of song medleys with no plot.

Robert Cuccioli, who plays the "sick bastard" of the title, is no stranger to shows that make the changeover from Norfolk to Broadway. His signature hit, "Jekyll and Hyde," played Chrysler Hall before it became a New York phenomenon.



The Virginia Gazette

Simplicity makes 'SCKBSTD' work

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Bruce Hornsby music featured in new stage show

By Rusty Carter

The tale turns ominous at intermission, when Timothy Reynolds accepts a ride from stranger Norman Rhodes, well-played by Robert Cuccioli, whose Broadway credits include “Les Miserables” and “Jekyll and Hyde” as well as a 1997 Tony Award nomination. The stranger makes highway safety films, the overtly graphic and overly dramatic shorts every driver’s ed student has suffered through.

Predictably, the ride ends with Timothy behind the wheel and a car crash. Rhodes reveals the demon that drove him to make the films: his wife was killed in a car accident on the same road in which he was the driver.