‘Wheelhouse’: An enjoyable bumpy road

Gene Lewin, Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda in ‘Wheelhouse.’

The talented GrooveLily trio of the delightful “Striking Twelve” fame has returned to the TheatreWorks stage with a musical rerun of their lives, the story of how they arrived at this time and place of where they are now.
“Wheelhouse” is a thin but musically enjoyable piece by three fine musicians. These folks deliver a clever jaunt into their past that includes buying a beat-up, mechanically unsound, gas guzzling Winnebago to travel around the country to try and make it in the rock pop music world. They dream, push and shove through hard times in their personal and work lives.
Valerie Vigoda, Brandon Milburn and Gene Lewin play unique instruments and sing songs they have written with energy and heart. GrooveLily lovers will enjoy and welcome hearing them again. No doubt these three are first rate musicians, but this autobiography hits curbs in the plot presentation that can’t be overlooked.
The trio also play different characters: Lewin’s RV dealer is a hoot, Milburn comes on well as a game show host and Vigoda does well as a diner waitress. They all come off well but their musicality is their strong feature.
Director Lisa Peterson keeps things uncomplicated and moves her people well. Simple sets by Kate Edmonds float on and off stage and keep the audience’s interest, and Jason H. Thompson’s three floating overhead video screens are a distinctive addition to explain parts of the story.
“Wheelhouse” is an entertaining moment in theatre that will improve with a little more maneuvering. With three talented musicians, they are in reach of what they’re after. I know I will always go to anything that has a GroveLily label on it.

Where: Mountain View Center For The Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View
Through: July 1
Tickets: $19-$65
Details: (650) 463-1960 or visit www.theatreworks.org

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