By Lynn Venhaus

Even if you don’t earn a prize, you are still a winner for having attended “Broke: The Game Show Show,” a convivial interactive musical comedy parody.

Created by partners Liz Muller and C.E.Simon, this world premiere strives for a party atmosphere. Fortunately, the Saturday night I was there, a bachelorette party attended, ready to have a good time, as were the other audience members.

Muller deftly directed the inventive show with a livewire attitude in mind and kept the music direction peppy and light-hearted. The show has been extended from May 6 through May 19.

Ryan Myers and Ashley Rube excel as the two quick-witted actors in the show within a show. Myers is perfectly congenial as Hank the Host, with a dash of snark and swagger, while Rube is relatable as the more exasperated and pragmatic Alex the Technical Director.

Both are connected to the Improv Shop and other local theatrical endeavors, and their veteran improvisational skills are put to good use, as they keep the tempo lively and project a sense that wackiness will ensue.

It really is true that no two shows are the same, as the performers and contestants feed off the energy of the crowd. If you are not laughing at some of the antics, check your pulse.

During the goofy game show, people answer trivia questions for their shot to be a contestant on stage. And they have an appealing assortment of prizes to giveaway from generous local donors to give away, like tickets, meals, and fun outings.

But if you’d rather just watch from the sidelines, that’s OK – no one is forcing you to go onstage.

The experience is enhanced by the 30-foot LED video wall projections, and the “Broke” creators designed the slick video background to give it a professional game show feel – and the technical difficulties seem real. Joel Wilper has added effective lighting design while Lenny Mink and Wilper smoothly handled the sound engineering.

Stage Manager J. Myles Hesse keeps things moving swiftly, no matter what appears to be going awry (all scripted). The performance is at least 90% game show, with the behind-the-scenes story of the host and tech crew a personal subplot for character development.

The show is performed with one intermission, and drinks are permitted in the playhouse.

“Broke” is as advertised, a silly romp well-suited for diverting you from more serious world affairs – and produced with spreading good cheer in mind. Providing a communal good time is always a welcome endeavor.

“Broke: The Game Show Show” is performed every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. through May 19 at the Westport Playhouse in St. Louis, with a 2 p.m. matinee set for the final day besides an evening show. It is recommended for ages 18 and older. Tickets are $30 and are available at Groups of 10 or more can call 314-605-3799 for special rates.

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