Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

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entire contents copyright 2007 by Tony Annicone

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

North Shore Music Theatre's current show is "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers" which is based on the MGM 1954 blockbuster film of the same name, includes a revised script and new orchestrations. The show is set in 1850's Oregon territory and tells the story of Adam and his brothers' pursuit for brides. Adam, the eldest of seven brothers, goes to town to get a wife and convinces a young woman named Milly to marry him that same day. They return to his backwoods home, 12 miles away where Milly discovers that all six of Adam's brothers also live in the log cabin. She sets out to reform the ill-mannered siblings, who are anxious to get wives of their own. Then Adam develops an inspired solution to his brothers' loneliness, having read Milly's book about the Romans and the Sabine women, he tells his brothers to kidnap the women they want. The results are hilarious, ending in a heartwarming solution to the brothers and their wives. This high energy musical is stupendous from start to finish with fabulous direction by Scott Schwartz, excellent music direction by Ed Goldschneider and show stopping choreography by Patti Columbo. Her breathtaking athletic ballet choreography is performed perfectly by this multitalented cast. Their acting, dancing and vocal prowess makes this show into a masterpiece and is just as fantastic as seeing a Broadway show in Beverly, MA. Run do not walk to purchase your ticket because this is the must see show of the season. Bravo.

Scott Schwartz's blocking of this show is wonderful. He utilizes every inch of space in the theatre including the aisles and makes sure the audience can see what is happening in this theatre in the round. His pacing of the scenes makes the show flow smoothly all night long with the energy and intensity to keep everyone's attention. Ed's musical direction of these fabulous vocalists is splendid and the orchestra captures the essence of the music of this time period. But since this is a dancing musical, Patti's choreography is flawless especially in the show stopping Challenge dance. These guys and gals execute these strenuous routines with ease and the audience laps it up like gravy, enjoying every single move that they make. This is some of the best dancing I have ever seen onstage. Kudos on a job very well done.

Leading this cast is Edward Watts as Adam. He not only looks the part of a lumberjack but he also possesses an incredible voice, too. His first rendition of "Bless Your Beautiful Hide" sets the barometer of topnotch vocals all night long. The character of Adam is a stubborn male chauvinistic pig who eventually gets tamed by a woman. Edward's "Sobbin' Women" is hilarious as he convinces his brothers to kidnap the girls and his "Where Were You?" is poignant as he sings about how he took care of his brothers after his parents deaths. Another splendid and emotion packed number is the trio version of "Love Never Goes Away". Michelle Dawson is fantastic as Milly. She is spunky and charming as this frontier woman. Her strong character is reminiscent of Reba McIntire and her voice is wonderful, too. Her many numbers include "Wonderful, Wonderful Day", "I Married Seven Brothers'' ( she trains these rowdy guys how to behave which is a major undertaking) and the tender "Glad That You Were Born" which she sings to her daughter, Martha. Edward and Michelle are topnotch in their roles and their chemistry with each other makes the show a success.

All of the brothers are tremendous in their roles, are cast perfectly and their dancing abilities are astounding. The youngest brother Gideon, is superbly played by Christian Delcroix who steals many scenes with his shy, youthful presence and makes the transition into blossoming as a mature person along the way. His antics are a hoot and he gets to show off his voice in the trio number, "Love Never Goes Away". The confrontation scene with Adam in the second act is dramatic and tugs at your heartstrings when Gideon proves he is more mature than Adam. The multitalented brothers include Randy Bobish as Benjamin, Luke Longacre as Caleb, Karl Warden as Daniel, Travis Kelly as Ephraim ( his ballet moves in "Spring, Spring, Spring" are astounding) and Eric Sciotto as Frank ( the perpetual hothead who is a hoot during the show.) (A risque scene occurs in Act 1 when Eric's blanket is ripped off, revealing an almost nude, Frank.) The equally multitalented girls who play the wives and dance up a storm with the brothers and the townsmen in The Challenge dance, "Spring" song and "You've Got to Make it through the Winter" are Christina Rae Hedrick as Dorcas, Kate Marilley as Ruth, Denise Payne as Liza, Margot de la Barre as Martha, Stephanie Fittro a Sarah and Sarah Marie Jenkins as Alice. (Sarah gets to do a lot of cute stuff with Christian as Gideon's girlfriend.) Kudos to everyone on a spectacular show. So for an outstanding musical treat, be sure to catch "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". Tell them Tony sent you.

"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" ( 29 May - 17 June)
North Shore Music Theatre, 62 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA
1 ( 978) 232-7200 or
"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" (29 May - 17 June)
62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY MA
1 (978) 232-7200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide