Support local journalism. Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Orlando Fringe 2017 review: 'John and Jen'

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 11:16 AM

click to enlarge johnjen.jpg
John (Jon Jimenez) and his big sister Jen (Mikaela Duffy) are as close as two siblings separated by six years can be. They bond over sports and Santa, but when it's time for Jen to leave for college, she must break her promise to always protect John from their abusive father. Her departure triggers a tragic chain of events that leads to a predictable but still emotionally affecting ending.

Producer-director and longtime Fringe volunteer Jon Jimenez has staged the first act of Tom Greenwald & Andrew Lippa's published musical John
& Jen
with smart efficiency, using little more than a few chairs on the small Purple stage. The script is oddly unspecific about its time frame until it takes a sudden turn into 1960s counterculture, and it doesn't hold many surprises, but these talented young performers make a strong case for this modest musical's merits.

Keyboardist Anthony Riley (with cellist Ali Valerio and percussionist Aaron W. Penfield) renders the lyrical score with sensitivity, and Duffy delivers her songs with a big, beautiful belt that fills the room to bursting. Jimenez's voice is fine, if not as full as his co-star's, but he nicely underplays his character's internal arc. Duffy's facial expressions are somewhat overblown for the intimate space, especially in the lighter early scenes, but she leaves her heart on the floor in the finale.

John & Jen
Cat Scratch Players
Purple Venue

Wednesday, May 17, 8:00 PM
Friday, May 19, 5:30 PM
Sunday, May 21, 2:15 PM
Monday, May 22, 5:45 PM
Thursday, May 25, 8:45 PM
Saturday, May 27, 10:15 PM
Sunday, May 28, 11:15 AM

Tags: , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Related Locations


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation