“In Transit” Connects with Audiences Via Relatable Relationship (and MTA) Woes

“In Transit” Connects with Audiences Via Relatable Relationship (and MTA) Woes

From left, Justin Guarini and Telly Leung in "In Transit" (©Joan Marcus)

I recently won the TodayTix lottery for “In Transit” and had one of the most enjoyable evenings at the theater! 

This charming show about the interwoven lives of several subway-goers in NYC is the first a cappella musical to open on Broadway. A rom-com at its core, “In Transit” is a love letter to this bustling city, as well as an encouraging story about perseverance in the face of adversity. Whether it’s landing the dream job, getting over a breakup or coming out to a loved one, there will be abrupt starts and stops—just like when you take the subway. 

While the woes of the MTA (empty/smelly train cars, jumbled PA announcements, delayed trains, the MTA card machines not taking your crumpled bills, etc.) pop up during the production and earn knowing groans and laughs from folks familiar with New York City’s public transportation, it’s the relatable moments of connection that carry this show. As Boxman (beatbox extraordinaire Steven “HeaveN” Cantor) points out before the opening number, most New Yorkers spend about two hours a day getting to and from work. What happens during this time while people are in transit? While most of us pop in our ear buds and avoid eye contact with strangers, “In Transit” gives us a peak at the possibilities of what could happen when you not only make your connecting train, but also connect with other people in transit around you.

Entertainment Weekly compared “In Transit” to “Love, Actually” and that’s the most accurate way to describe how the four main storylines cross paths with characters being in relationships—whether those are familial, romantic or professional. Struggling actress Jane (Margot Seibert) is biding her time temping instead of doing what she would rather be doing. Her agent, Trent (Justin Guarini), is engaged to a man, but has a very religious mother who he is afraid to invite to his wedding. Trent’s friend Ali (Erin Mackey) is invited to the wedding, but lacks a plus-one because she and her longtime boyfriend broke up. Ali’s brother, Nate (James Snyder), got fired after an email snafu and is trying to adjust to being broke. While out with friends, Nate meets Jane and they hit it off. For such a big city, it’s really a small world.

I love a cappella music, which was one of the reasons I was so excited to finally see “In Transit.” With book, music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Frozen”), James-Allen Ford, Russ Kaplan and Sara Wordsworth, audiences are treated to a clever and often poignant show, with catchy songs arranged by Deke Sharon that have gorgeous harmonies and zero instrumental accompaniment.

Having enjoyed Seibert and Snyder in “Rocky the Musical” and “If/Then,” respectively, a few seasons ago, I was delighted to see them in this show to further appreciate their vocal prowess and storytelling skills. A longtime fan of Guarini from his time on “American Idol,” I was grateful that this was the first production I got to see him in in person.

The entire ensemble is wonderful, as everyone’s voices blend together to beautifully to create such a powerful sound. If I had to pick a standout, though, that honor goes to Moya Angela. I was blown away by her vocals during “Keep it Goin.’” Not only did she sound amazing, but she also freaking rocked a stunning strapless MTA card dress from costume designer Clint Ramos.

“In Transit” is a feel-good show that offers hope and evokes empathy for these busy New Yorkers. There’s no better way to start off the new year than with a fun musical about overcoming life obstacles.

Catch “In Transit” at Circle in the Square Theatre on W. 50th St. Click here for tickets!

Margo Seibert (center) and the cast of "In Transit" (©Joan Marcus)

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