Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Zanna, Don't!"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey

Banana Fana Oh! Zanna!

Reviewed by Beverly Creasey

"Zanna, Don’t!" is a wacky, little “musical fairy tale” about a town where gay (not to mention ‘happy’) is the norm. SpeakEasy Stage gives Jim Acito’s spritely musical comedy a wild, mega-watt production, with Jordan Fife Hunt as the magical pixie do-bee of the title. Zanna just wants everyone to be in love.

"Zanna, Don’t!" (through Oct. 13th at the BCA) spoofs movies like "Urban Cowboy" (Wait till you see the bull!), Disney’s "Cinderella" (Wait till you see the bird!), musicals like "The Will Rogers Follies" (Wait till you see the chaps!) --- Even the Eagles’ “Take it Easy” is reworked, right along side Dickens’"Tale of Two Cities. "Jesus Christ Superstar" gets a shameless mention (my favorite pun of the evening) and "Evita’s" fab military number is riffed in grand style, with snappy choreography by David Connolly. You’ll have great fun finding all the allusions.

Director Paul Daigneault manages to hire the most talented young actor/singer/dancers around—and SpeakEasy is clever enough to know where future audiences will come from. So they do shows which will attract a younger crowd (and amuse the oldsters, as well, of course). Most of the performers probably weren’t even born when The Village People were strutting their stuff: Oh yeah. They’re referenced, too.

The songs are adorable, with a show-stopping country western patter song worthy of Gilbert & Sullivan and a ballad (“I Could Write Books”) which will put you, well, me anyway, in mind of Fred Astaire. Paul Katz and his orchestra make the music jump. Anich D’Jae again proves that she’s a performer with charisma by the mile and Bud Weber amazes in the “Straight to Heaven” number. Stephanie Umoh and Andrew Durand are butter-melt-in-your-mouth sweet as the oddball heteros and Daigneault gets fine comic work from Jaime Cepero III, Gillian Goldberg and DJ Petrosino.

"Zanna, Don't!" (13 September - 13 October)
Boston Center for the Performing Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 933-8600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide