Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Lucky Duck"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Carl A. Rossi


book by Bill Russell & Jeffrey Hatcher

music by Henry Krieger; lyrics by Bill Russell

directed by Bill Russell

musical direction by Bill Casey

choreography by Michelle Chassé

Serena … Stephanie Umoh
Wolf … Nicholas Ryan Rowe
Drake … Jesse Swenson
Mrs. Mallard … Carly Sakolove
Goostella; Queen … Samia Mounts
King; Armand … Will Larche
Male Models; Free Range Chickens … Paul Bud Weber; Tim Markman
Carl … Jason Modica
Clem … Michael Joyce
Millicent … Susan O’Dea
Mildred … Monique Altamirano
Verblinka … Hilary Werthmann
Kim Chi … Kate Geisler
Narrator … Ron Della Chiesa


Conductor … Bill Casey
Flute … Yi Yun Lee
Oboe … Jennie Siegel
Saxophones … Alexander Kunzelman
Drum Set … Bradley Webb
Keyboard 1 … Bill Casey
String Bass … Brian Thacker

LUCKY DUCK, a hip retelling of “The Ugly Duckling” akin to the musical HONK! but with a female lead, played for four performances at the Boston Conservatory and proved a worthy showcase of the school’s current crop of exciting young talent --- how many of them will remain in the area, upon graduation? The Messrs. Russell, Hatcher and Kreiger’s tale, segueing from a barnyard to New Duck City to a strip joint called Poultry in Motion, etc. (get the picture?), follows the New Musical formula --- one high-octane number after another, with few pit-stops in between --- fortunately, the Conservatory cast was up to its challenges (indeed, older performers would look silly, simulating the age and energy of what comes naturally to the current ensemble --- LUCKY DUCK may preach for inner beauty but Youth, glorious Youth, is what it is really all about).

Those who witnessed Stephanie Umoh in SpeakEasy’s THE BUBBLY BLACK GIRL SHEDS HER CHAMELEON SKIN knows that she is already a powerhouse singer; as Serena the Ugly Duckling, Ms. Umoh was tender and sexy, brave and vulnerable and brought down the house with the slinky “Average, Simple, Mega Superstar”, the wistful “Careful What You Wish For” and the inevitable “Don’t Start Playing My Swan Song”, appropriately belted at the eleventh hour --- and when Ms. Umoh appeared in scanty canary-yellow, followed by dreamy swan-white, and remained sweet and winning, throughout, you knew that Ms. Umoh has definitely arrived. Nicholas Ryan Rowe, the Wolf who alternates between love and hunger pangs for Serena, complimented Ms. Umoh every step of the way --- Mr. Rowe may have been playing a charming bad-boy but an old-fashioned leading man shone through, nevertheless: handsome, tall, with personality to spare and who can sing and dance like a dream. Memory is already reducing LUCKY DUCK to a loud, colorful blur, yet Ms. Umoh and Mr. Rowe’s pairing stands in its own protective spotlight: when shall we next see them onstage, together --- and where?

"Lucky Duck" (20 - 22 April)
31 Hemenway Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 912-9222

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide