Dave Frishberg lives very much in the present but makes no bones about his fascination with the past. After all, his last CD was titled Retromania. So it’s no wonder that the producers of a new piece of musical theater sought out Frishberg to write the words and music. Anyone familiar with “I’m Hip,” “My Attorney Bernie,” “Peel Me a Grape,” “Listen Here” or his dozens of other songs knows that he’s prepared to capture irony, whimsy and tenderness.Â
…a dimly lit room in the Scottish Rite Center provided a fitting atmosphere for “Vitriol & Violets,” which tracks the careers and friendships of the 1920s Algonquin Round Table. The story presents a lot of characters to follow, but the witticisms flow freely, the songs by Dave Frishberg are alternately hilarious and deeply poignant, and a cast featuring Adair Chappell (charmingly acerbic as Dorothy Parker), Joe Theissen, Isaac Lamb and others pulls it off with appropriate panache.