Optimistically Cautious

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Theatre: "Crazy for You"

After dinner, Dickson and I went to the opening night performance of Crazy for You, the second production of the year for Grant MacEwan's Theatre Arts Program. From the website:

"an artfully constructed show-biz tale of boy meets girl, but rather than Times Square they’re in the Wild West, where they spread good will, good tunes and, of course, good lovin’. It’s a high energy comedy that includes mistaken identity, plot twists, fabulous dance numbers and classic Gershwin music."

As custom, the house was nearly full, packed undoubtedly with family and friends of the cast members. John L. Haar Theatre really is a beautiful facility, fully equipped with wide aisles, a gorgeous stage, and orchestra pit. It's too bad it's out of the way, and not in proximity to any large attractions, as their programming should be seen by a wider audience.

For a student production, it was quite well done. The costumes were great, as were the set pieces (in particular, the clown car was well built, leading to an unexpected routine that provided a good display of stage magic). My favorite character was hands down Irene Roth, the soon-to-be wife of the Saloon owner in Deadrock. She was played with great sass by Ashley Bjorndal, and carried off some great verbal exchanges with Bobby Child's mother and her future husband.

I thought the first half as a whole was better than the second half, both in pacing and songs presented. Furthermore, the dancing was stronger than the singing in this show - the male lead had a fairly weak voice (Dickson said the actor who played Bela Zangler had the better voice, and here, I'll defer to his trained ear). I was also surprised at the lack of a show stopping end number. "I Got Rhythm," clearly the most catchy song, and the only one in length that featured the entire cast, fell just before intermission, leaving the audience vainly wanting more.

I was also surprised at their decision to use a projected backdrop to convey the different scene locations. Because of their elaborate sets, I thought this was unnecessary and rather distracting. Specifically, the image of the Gaity Theatre seats could be considered inaccurate, as usual musical-within-a-musical productions see the rehearsals conducted facing the imaginary audience, not upstage.

Despite my nitpicks, it was a fun production overall, and one that left me with a desire to dance!



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