The VCR show podcast


By Richard C. Vara

June 11, 2022

Houston, Texas – The Alley Theatre presents the world premiere of the musical “Noir.” “Noir” is set in Los Angles in a small apartment off La Brea Avenue.  Our unnamed hero simply known to us as The Neighbor (Adam Kantor) is traumatized and obsesses over the death of his girlfriend Scarlet (Christy Altomare). The Neighbor is so traumatized that he is unable to leave his apartment. When he tries to leave, he becomes ill from what seems to be vertigo. It is a musical based on noir films so it would not be too much of a stretch if this was a small tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece “Vertigo.” Morgan Marcell (The Wife) and Adam Kantor (The Neighbor) are truly talented in their acting and singing skills. They do an excellent job of bringing their characters to life. They both bring a gritty and dark element to the show that blends in so well with the noir style.   

 Morgan Marcell (The Wife) and Adam Kantor (The Neighbor) in Alley Theatre’s production of Noir
Photo by Lynn Lane. Photo: courtesy of the Alley Theatre.

The music for the show was created by Duncan Sheik who is a Tony Award-winning composer and 1990s rocker. He is well known for his 1996 hit single “Barely Breathing” which earned him a Grammy nomination and a Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI) Award for Most Played Song of 1997. The Alley Theatre truly picked a musical powerhouse for their show.   

“I loved the music, it really worked for me.” Audience member Saffiyah Ra said.

“I loved the music and how it tied everything in.” Mrs. Ra added.

This was Mrs. Ra’s first-time back at the Alley Theatre in ten years. She very much enjoyed her first musical experience with the Alley.   

“Noir” is in keeping with the definition of noir genera. However, I will say it is more of a modern noir than the classic noir we are used to seeing. Do not go into the show thinking you are going to hear the fast-paced quick wit speaking style of the classic black and white noir movies. Classic noir such as “Nightmare Alley” (1947) “Key Largo” (1948) and “The Third Man” (1949) all have a very distinctive way of talking. The musical “Noir” does not keep in step with the language we tend to associate with classic noir. If I had to compare the Musical “Noir” to a modern noir movie it would have to be the 1975 film“Chinatown.”  

We also see a wonderful use of multimedia in the show through the use of windows. The backdrop to the apartment are silhouettes playing out the lives of other apartment dwellers through the windows. Another fun use of multimedia was the big reveal as to who the killer is. I enjoyed the interesting use of props as well. The neon vacancy sign is your indication of our hero’s state of mind. It lets us know when he is having a breakdown, flashback, or is back in the real world.   

 Adam Kantor as The Neighbor in Alley Theatre’s production of NoirPhoto by Lynn Lane.
Photo: courtesy of the Alley Theatre.

However, I will say the fight choreography was kind of campy and could have used some fine-tuning. Watching the fights that take place was kind of “cringe” for me. The story is well written, and I very much loved the twist at the end that accompanies the whodunit. It is definitely a go-see in my opinion.  


The Alley Theatre will be running performances till July the 3rd. You can find more information at or you can call 713-220-5700. 

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