Fiddler on Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Saturday Night Fever"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone

"Saturday Night Fever"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

North Shore Music Theatre's summer show is the New England regional premiere of "Saturday Night Fever" based on the Nik Cohn's 1975 New York Magazine article "Tribal Rituals for the New Saturday Night" and Norman Wexler's 1977 screenplay it inspired. Put on your "Boogie Shoes" as we go back in time to New York in the 1970's that will leave you with "Night Fever!" It tells the story of Tony Manero, a humble New York paint store clerk by day who transforms into a polyester-clad stallion king of disco by night. Every Saturday night Tony slips into his flares, pulls on his ludicrously large -collared shirt and hits the streets to strut his stuff. However when the club lights come on and Tony and his friends emerge into daylight, things are never as simple as they seem. "Saturday Night Fever" combines scintillating expert disco choreography by Nick Kenkel combined with the best selling soundtrack by The Bee Gees. Director Richard Stafford casts this high energy musical with stunning and awe inspiring music direction by Milton Granger. Their combined expertise with Nick's fabulous dances produce a musical that audiences can sing along with.

Michael P. Kramer designed the sets especially impressive is the Brooklyn Bridge while Paula Peasley-Ninestein designed the wild and wacky 1970 disco style costumes. The cast delivers splendid dancing and singing of this score. However since it was first written as a stage musical, it has been revised over and over again. This gives the script a choppy nature to it and it doesn't flow along as smoothly as it should. Some of the better scenes are the ones between Tony and his family. Sam Wolf plays Tony and he sings the iconic "Stayin' Alive", "Boogie Shoes", "Top of Your Game",  which was written for this version "Tragedy" as well as the fantastic quartet, "Stuck" and the lackluster "How Deep is Your Love", the duet with Stephanie.  This last song just ends the show abruptly, making the audience wonder if the show is really over or not?? Tessa Grady plays the unsympathetic Stephanie who dances with Tony and uses him to get ahead in the dance business. Tessa's voice is heard in her solo "What Kind of Fool?". One of the best performers in this show is Matthew Rodin as Bobby. His sympathetic portrayal of this underdog character resonates with the audience from start to finish. Matthew delivers a tour-de-force performance as this tragic character. Bravo! Another standout is Kirstin Tucker as Annette who tugs at your heartstrings when something dramatic occurs. She also displays her golden voice in  "If I Can't Have You" which leaves in tears at her tender rendition.

Haley Swindal stops the show with her powerhouse voice in "Disco Inferno", "Night Fever", "Open Sesame" and "More Than a Woman" with Pat McRoberts as Monty. They are dynamite in their roles. Haley also brings the house down with "Nights on Broadway." I last reviewed Haley as the Lady of the Lake in "Spamalot" at Theatre by the Sea in 2014.  Another impressive number is "Jive Talking"  sung by Matthew Rodin as Bobby, Joe Moeller as Double J,Cary Tedder as Joey and James LaRosa as Gus. Their expert dance moves are brilliant as they bring down the house with this impressive number. The outstanding family members are played by Ray DeMattis, Ellen Peterson, Scarlet Keene-Connole and Bronson Norris as the sympathetic priest brother of Tony. He buys Tony his iconic white jacket for the dance competition. The excellent Latin dancers who win the contest trophy when Tony concedes to them are played by Andres Acosta and Michelle Mormolejo. They stop the show with their incredible dance moves. Kudos to the entire cast and crew on delivering high energy performances during some of the hottest weather this area has experienced this summer. Bill Hanney once again delivers marvelous musical entertainment to the North Shore area of Massachusetts. What a marvelous way to continue celebrating NSMT's 60th anniversary! Next season shows include "Funny Girl", "Mary Poppins" and "Singing in the Rain."

"Saturday Night Fever" (11 - 23 August)
NORTH SHORE MUSCI THEATRE
@ 62 Dunham Road, BEVERLY MA
1(978)232-7200

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