"Bittersuite," the musical revue that ran for months in Van Nuys, has moved over the hill to the Burbage in West Los Angeles, with the subtitle "One More Time" attached. Seven songs that weren't in the Van Nuys version have been added, and five were dropped in the move.
It remains an immensely entertaining introduction to two remarkable songwriters, Elliot Weiss and Michael Champagne.
Quibbling is permitted over the changes in the show. A couple of the new songs, "I'll Make a Place for You," and "Lonely Man/Lonely Woman" are bland, easy-listening numbers that add nothing.
Yet three of the new songs--"World Without End," "Flight of the Phoenix" and "Rank and File"--are at the opposite end of the spectrum: challenging numbers that are so different from the rest of the material that they tend to obscure the theme of the show: the bittersweet process of becoming middle-aged. Of course, those who felt the previous version of the show was too repetitive should welcome this.
In the first act, "World" and "Phoenix" explore mystical, transcendental feelings that are untouched by the rest of the show--and "World" does it in a minimalist musical context that suggests Philip Glass more than Stephen Sondheim. "Rank and File," which now opens the second act in place of the departed "Snap Back," adds a note of political satire.