I Can’t Keep Running in Place

Original Off-Broadway Cast, 1981 (Painted Smiles) 1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) This musical about a six-week women’s assertiveness training workshop came across as little more than an audition piece for Barbara Schottenfeld, who wrote the book, music, and lyrics. The songs are decent enough, sincere and spirited, even if the music disappears from your mind the moment after you’ve heard it. But the book just isn’t there, and the characters are minimally delineated: the rich and acerbic one, the fat one, the smug student, the doormat, and so on. They occasionally take part in telephone conversations about husbands and children, but mostly they sing one song after another. As performed by Helen Gallagher, Joy Franz, Evalyn Baron, Phyllis Newman, and especially Marcia Rodd in the role of the troubled therapists, the musical numbers are momentarily effective but, without plot or characters to back them up, they’re out there on their own — David Wolf