Roommate Wanted, at Theatre Building Chicago. Instead of a new roommate, this show's actresses need a stronger script. Writer-performers Jessica Sullivan and Meredith Lavender are better than their material in this rather unoriginal, awkward 90-minute show, which draws more smiles than laughs.
Aspiring actresses Jules and Megan are pursuing their dreams in New York City. They start out as mere roommates, but--surprise, surprise--after nine months they're friends. The play's sparse conflict comes from the differences between them: Jules is the hardened, aloof daughter of an upper-class family with a strong sense of entitlement, while Megan is a peppy girl from Iowa with a Hallmark outlook who wears costumes to fend off homesickness. The show jumps from long monologues familiarizing us with the characters' ambitions, family pressures, and inner fears to short scenes from their lives.
There are some worthwhile moments. Both Sullivan and Lavender sing well, but they're best when they take on characters other than their surrogate selves--something they do too seldom. A kung fu dance number with coffee as a weapon is a bright spot, but otherwise this play is ho-hum. Familiar scenes depict Megan getting mugged, a string of bad dates, auditions that go awry, and low-level acting gigs taken in order to survive, and the pat fantasy ending is a letdown.