Last Friday I went to see the Musical Theater Department put on Gershwin’s “Crazy for You.” This production is filled with memorable songs like: “Slap that Bass,” “I’ve got Rhythm,” “They Can’t take that Away from Me,” and “Nice Work if You Can Get it.”
Although the production started out a little slow, and there were a number of technical difficulties, a lighting gel fell on stage at one point, the cast of the production expertly handled all of these slip ups in an expert fashion.
The highlight of the production was the dancing. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure to see a non-professional theater put on a production with such amazing choreography.
Shari Jordan was the “Susan Stroman choreography recreation” choreographer. Susan Stroman has won numerous awards for her work, most recently the Producers (Mel Brooks). Shari Jordan was in the original cast and film of the Producers, she played the lesbian stage manager “Shirley Markowitz,” as well as the assistant choreographer to Stroman.
The dancing was truly wonderful to watch, kick lines, chorus girls, acrobatics, tap dancing and wonderful duets between the leads. I was breath taken.
The chorus did an excellent job keeping the energy up and the background occupied. Their voices blended wonderfully and they managed to be both a smoothly knitted group while maintaining individual interest.
L’ogan J’ones played Bobby Child the lovable young man trapped into a financial job by his controlling mother, who only wants to be a Broadway dancer. J’ones has a very lovely voice and dances beautifully. He had a lot to carry in this production and I was impressed by his stamina.
Mary Little played Polly Baker, the Navada tough girl sweetheart with whom Bobby falls in love. Little’s voice was surprising and moving. I must admit the sound of her singing “They can’t take that away from me” made me cry! She is also a beautiful dancer and has quite a strong stage presence. I was very impressed by her.
Over all I really enjoyed this production. The few things I wasn’t so keen on was the implications of bondage in “Naughty Baby,” I thought that was taken a bit far. Also, the energy in the first quarter of the play felt rather flat, although whether that was the actors or the stupor of the audience is always a question (this was the evening of tensions in Boston.)
I really appreciated the modern twist on personalities. Often these older more classic musicals can feel outdated, I think the Theater Department did a very nice job updating the feel of the production.
I look forward to the next production and applaud the cast and crew of this dazzling piece of theater.