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How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes

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How to Save the World: Carol Rosegg

We gave it a B+

A favorite at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2004, How to Save the World and Find True Love in 90 Minutes is a daffy musical delight about a goofy U.N. bookstore employee (Michael McEachran, pictured with Anika Larsen) given the untimely duty of, well, saving the world and finding true love through the aid of mind-reading, melon-dodging and Condoleeza Rice, is one of those shows one needs an unabashed quirk factor to appreciate. Replete with bizarro nonsequitors — one involves EW’s (fictional) praise for a Nepalese yogi — and smart-silly lyrics (rhyming melony with felony is pretty admirable), the show feels a little cramped in New World Stages’ smallest house and some of the jokes don’t land; but it has a go-for-broke spirit that more shows need. Even within their geographic limitations, director/choreographer Christopher Gattelli and set designer Beowulf Boritt find inventive ways to keep the audience’s attention with their near-vaudevillian scene changes. And it may be small, but the talent is very big, especially Nicole Ruth Snelson (as a slinky, seductive U.N. diplomat) and leading lady Anika Larsen. A wide-eyed comedienne with rafter-shaking voice, Larsen — who was such a treasure in the Off Broadway hit Zanna, Don’t! a few years back — seizes every moment to stop the show. This woman needs a star vehicle pronto. Paging Marc Shaiman… (Tickets: Telecharge.com or 212-239-6200)