Ladies, think back on the most embarrassing secret you shared with your best friend in middle school. Cringing yet? Good. Now, imagine
your best friend revealing that secret to a room full of strangers, and you’ll get the hilariously squirm-inducing gist of Mel & El:
Show & Tell, a wacky hour-long musical romp through the awkward adolescences of real-life childhood pals Melanie Adelman and Ellie Dvorkin. Hanging out in a pink bedroom covered in ’80s memorabilia on the intimate Ars Nova stage, Dvorkin begins by sharing a photo of them together as 13-year-olds. “My favorite thing about this picture,” she says, “is that you are wearing your very first tampon!” Mortified,
Adelman ups the ante by revealing top-secret girl stuff about Dvorkin—and, quickly, we feel like they’re our best friends, too.
From making up commercials for nonsensical feminine products (the Vagi-Vend?) to Adelman’s showstopper about cleaning house with her mom (titled “Antibacterial Everything”), their girlhood experiences—sparkling under Moritz von Stuelpnagel’s skillful direction—will resonate strongly with the women in the audience, while the men may often feel left out of the joke. And though some songs don’t work as well as others—Dvorkin singing about her nose job (too depressing) and the duo bemoaning their biological clocks (too cliché)—we admit we haven’t had so much fun since seventh-grade sleepovers.