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Theater review of "Cougar The Musical" at Plaza Theatre

Staff Writer

If you expect “Cougar the Musical” to offer a steady stream of estrogen-soaked jokes about hot flashes, female empowerment and sexual innuendo, then, yup, this one’s for you.

The show at Manalapan’s Plaza Theatre is all that … and a bit more. Sure, the cliche volume has been turned up to 10, and your horoscope probably has more insight, but the cast pulls, pushes and lifts the show, buffing the comedy to a warm glow and putting a whimsical spin on tired ol’ chestnuts about bitter divorces, personal lubricants and exotic martinis.

Two-time divorcee Lilly (Katie Angell Thomas) stumbles into a cougar bar owned by Mary-Marie (Margot Moreland). The duo becomes a trio when Clarity (Shelley Keelor) joins them, doing research on cougars for a dissertation. All the boy toys are played by Clay Cartland.

The tunes (by six composers!) are serviceable, with lyrics pretty much like this: “It’s time to engage/Just don’t ask my age.” The choreography is meh, but executed well. The lighting, sound, costumes and scenery are top-notch.

After 90 intermission-free minutes, the wisp of a conflict is resolved, and the tidy ending is staged with plenty of pep. Seriously though, the musical’s creator owes the Plaza big time for making the show seem better than it probably is.

“Cougar the Musical” is running through June 29 at the Plaza Theatre, 262 S. Ocean Blvd., in Manalapan. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, with 2 p.m. matinees Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $45 for adults and $15 for students. Call 561-588-1820 or go to

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