There is an amazing production playing at ARS Nova Summer Fling on West 54th Street that’s full of powerful songs, stirring performances and engaging characters. Based on real people, “Shida: A New Musical” takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster ride. This production is the creation of its star, Jeannette Bayardelle, who also wrote the show’s book, music and lyrics. “Shida” delivers a very dramatic story about child molestation, a broken family and broken dreams.
For 70 minutes, Bayardelle has the audience’s undivided attention. She is a gifted actress and singer who displays her talents beautifully on stage.
Shida is a character who has dreams of being a writer. She was an intelligent little girl who was raised by her mother, whose life didn’t go as she had hoped it would. It’s mesmerizing to watch Bayardelle bring this story to life and to see the twists and turns this girl’s life takes. She pursues higher education, then gets involved with drugs and becomes so desperate that she does things that change her life forever. Despite the serious issues dealt with in this musical, it is not too heavy to handle. The playwright manages to give the perfect balance of the good, the bad and the ugly things that can happen in life.
Andy Sandberg does a marvelous job with directing. As Bayardelle goes into each of the several characters in the play, she is completely believable as each one. This production is worth your time (though it’s a little heavy for a younger audience). Go and experience “Shida.”
“Shida: A New Musical” is playing through Aug. 28. For more information, visit shidathemusical.com.