There is a saying: "I have to laugh or I would cry." So often during this groundbreaking show, staged and directed by Todd Warfield, Hell Hole Honeys makes you laugh, gasp and feel uncomfortable--sometimes all at the same time. While it has a message, and has powerful moments, you don't feel like it is preaching to you. It is fun, but dark with some quirk and romance added in for good measure.
Written by the 2005 NEW YORK MUSICAL THEATRE FESTIVAL and DIRECTOR'S CHOICE AWARD-WINNING alumni team of Ben Budick, Steve Mackes, and David Ogrin. Mary Jo Huntsinger is a journalist jailed for refusing to reveal her source. She is thrown into Bellpole Prison where she meets seemingly typical women you may "expect" to find in prison. There, she uncovers not only the depth of these women but also gets herself into trouble when she uncovers serious issues inside the prison.
The cast of characters we meet are the prisoners--Cutter, Scratch, Bitch, Ho and Squeaky. Scratch is the queen bee played by Victoria Perez. She is both intimidating and vulnerable, especially during the song "Choose". Bitch, Ho and Squeaky provide comic relief, playing off of each other and taking pot shots. We learn a little bit about their backstories, but the show revolves primarily around Mary Jo, Cutter (Stephanie Bax), Alan (Casey Denton) and the Warden (Jeff Coyle), whose size, and the way he just oozes creepiness out of his pores, made the audience's skin crawl.
The music ranges from rap to regular Broadway ballads and is sung with a lot of heart and passion. It is truly a show not to be missed. For mature audiences only.
Hell Hole Honeys runs until May 9. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $13 for students. More information can be found at alleyway.com or by calling (716) 852-2600.