"...an Internet-age 'Romeo & Juliet'" -- Work & Family, Wall Street Journal, Mar. 15, 2000
"...Madame Butterfly flies into a computer screen." -- TheRebeccaReview.com, amazon.com TOP 10 Reviewer, May 20, 2004.
"...a well structured, wise, and very lovely musical with charming lyrics and insightful musicality." -- Grady Harp, amazon.com TOP 50 Reviewer, February 9, 2004.
"The script is funny and clever, but the main event is the intricate, inventive score"--Caroline Burlingham Ellis, www.theatermirror.com, May 21, 2001
"So that's what those programmers are doing while eating Pop Tarts during all those late hours working in their cubicles..."--Tom Witkowski, Boston Business Journal, April 23, 2001, http://tinyurl.com/umqx
Tortoise is a musical comedy that applies Aesop's timeless fable to the time-starved computer business that has furnished Jeff Flaster's "day job" since he graduated from MIT in 1985.
***** Refreshing musical that lingers after the initial fizz, February 9, 2004
Reviewer: Grady Harp (Altadena, CA United States)
Jeff Flaster has found a means to communicate the timeless tales of Aesop's fables with a little dash of help from Shakespeare and a lot of background from the current computer-driven dialogue we all find ourselves using daily. This is a well structured, wise, and very lovely musical with charming lyrics and insightful musicality. The accompaniment is merely a piano, very well played by Michael Larson. The assembled cast is not only well attuned to the musical comedy (read Gilbert and Sullivan) idiom, but they also have individually excellent voices. Not that comparisons are necessary, but for those who have always loved the small scaled shows like THE FANTASTICKS then TORTOISE is bound to please. A well devised and performed show that would benefit from live performances - easy to stage, not with tremendous challenge to voices at the high school or college or community theater level. This is a fine work that sparkles and fizzes and gets dreamy and leaves you humming gentle melodies. A terrific disc to put into you car CD system - just to make your ride to your (probably similar) work a joy.
***** Reboot it Dude, May 20, 2004
Reviewer: TheRebeccaReview.com (Washington State)
The first time I listened to this musical I enjoyed the unique "computer theme" and enjoyed the mix of modern technology with old-fashioned romance and values. Some of the lines reminded me of my own computer experiences. "Reboot it Dude, Reboot it Darling" had me laughing and sets the mood for the entire CD. There is a good helping of humor and if you love computers or the dot.com lifestyle you will be highly amused.
The snappy interview was impressive and many of the songs give you deep moments of contemplation about life and work. Is your job your life or is your job a way to enhance your lifestyle? Laura Shore (Joan Bissell) is the star of this show and must decide between two jobs. Will she take the job that must become her life or take a job that will fit into her life?
Craig Hanson and the charming Joan Bissell sing a duet that is almost a love song/ballad. This steps into the entire territory of the boss dating an employee. In "Tortoise and the Fox" Craig Hanson sings about the Aesop fable and Joan Bissell responds with her own wisdom and when their voices mingle it gives you shivers. I love every track where they sing together.
Dennis Littrell's review helped me to understand the entire context of this work. It truly does need more details in a booklet. My enjoyment of this CD would have been enhanced had I read Dennis' review before listening.
For some reason I kept thinking: Madame Butterfly flies into a computer screen. There is a beauty to the lyrics that almost causes you to feel nostalgic. It is unexpected because we are talking about computer companies here. Yet for anyone who is madly in love with the computer world, this musical will make complete sense.
Jeff Flaster's musical was recorded at Wellspring Sound, Cambridge Center for Adult Education and Rear Window Studio. "Only Me" is a comedy number that seems to have been recorded in front of a live audience and Matt Walton gets a few good laughs from the audience. I'd like to see a video to understand the physical comedy that is definitely present in this work.
Tortoise is an intriguing work that I'd love to see on Video/DVD or watch in person. It has all the elements needed to intrigue the mind and capture the heart.