What I really want out of a review is “I saw this, I felt this, and THIS IS WHY.” Criticism needs to be more than reporting, more than a PR opportunity for the theater group, more than pap for the incurious masses.
Hana Meyers gave the best performance I’ve yet seen from her… Sweet, self-effacing; powerful vocals. I’d recommend seeing this production just for her, but I wish she had a better showcase.
It was a grin-filled, charming evening, borne effortlessly on the singing, dancing, wisecracking shoulders of Megan Breit and Eddie Rose. Breit and Rose were born decades after the golden age of screwball comedy, but it must be in their genes, or maybe they were inhabited by some kind of theatrical spirit. Nice work, indeed.
Ciara Wiggins played an incredible AIDA, princess-turned-slave. I had no difficulty believing Casey Rice’s Radames would fall head over heels for her – her regal bearing was projected in every (seemingly) effortless note. Rice channeled Elton John – his voice was well suited to the pop/rock style of his songs, which he embellished with occasional growls and fillips.
And, at the end of the day… Thanks to my cast and crew for taking the journey with me. I’m going to drink some Scotch, sleep late a few mornings, then do it all again. Let’s do it together.
One of our castmates shared a story about another Sondheim show he’d been part of, when he blanked on his lyrics in front of an audience and had to stop the song. I asked if he’d been mortified. “Not really,” he said. “I think you have to embrace the whole process.”
William Lanfear’s wigs and makeup were spectacular; Peggy Frantz’s costumes were excellent; Ryan Decker’s end-of-show baritone solo as Lurch was exactly what I’d hoped for (gorgeous and funny); Randy Fields had a nice bit of choreography in the climatic tango number.
Sarah Crill is gently magnetic as Musoka, a terminally ill woman who may or may not be a woodland creature. My eyes stayed on her the entire show – a study in graceful movement.
Both sides of my brain were singing, another part was trying to think of the next move, but the LOUDEST part of my brain screamed, “YOU FOOL, YOU’RE 45 YEARS OLD, YOU’RE GOING TO TEAR A LIGAMENT IN YOUR KNEE!”
In three weeks, we’ll be presenting Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together at The Earlville Opera House. The dreams have started – where I’m onstage without a clue what to sing, the lights aren’t ready, and I’m in pajamas. (I hate pajamas, so that’s worse than being naked onstage.) Right on schedule.