Theatre Mirror Reviews - "My One And Only"

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note: entire contents copyright 2000 by Larry Stark


"My One And Only"

Music & Lyrics by George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin
Book by Peter Stone & Timothy S. Mayer
Directed by Robert J. Eagle & Eileen Grace
Associate Musical Director Rick Scalise
Tommy Tune's original choreography recreated by Eileen Grace

Scenic Design by Adrianne Lobel
Costumes by Rita Ryack
Lighting Design by David Wilson
Conductor Roy Groth
Production Stage Manager Sheron Thorp

Captain Billy Buck Chandler.........................................Kirby Ward
Mickey.......................................................................Robin Taylor
Prince Nicolai Erraclyovitch Tchatchavadze/Achmed...Scott Mikita
Edyth Herbert............................................................Beverly Ward
Rt. Rev. J. D. Montgomery............................................Peter Allen
Mr. Magix..............................................................Luther Fontaine
Reporter...................................................................Lisa Bergeron
Dancing Ladies......................................Jill Brannelly/Amy McCue
Prawn.......................................................................Loriann Freda
Sturgeon....................................................................Katie McCue
Kipper....................................................................Valerie Kramer
Flounder..................................................................Jennifer Turey
Minnow.....................................................................Heidi Kellner
Anchovie..........................................................Vanessa McMahon
The New Rhythm Boys
Ron Brooks/Ernest Williams/Royce Zachery
Ritz Quartet
Jean-Alfred Chavier,/Nathan Croner,/Christian Kiley/Karl Hudson
The Dancing Gentlemen
J. Michael Beech/J. Joseph Burke/Tim McShea/John Wescott/Jonathan White

If you look hard at "My One And Only" you can see that Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer worked hard to write a new book to hold a handful of Gershwin songs together, and failed. But no one will look closely, because Beverly and Kirby Ward fall in love so convincingly in this pseudo-twenties romp. Robert J. Eagle and Eileen Grace and the Reagle Players make the silly story charming, and the singing and tap-routines of Luther Fontaine, Scott Mikita, Robin Taylor, Peter Allen, and the "New Rhythm Boys" Ron Brooks, Ernest Williams and Royce Zachery are reason enough to get out to Waltham before this show disappears.

For the original Broadway show Tommy Tune invented a barefoot tap-routine that Mr. & Mrs. Ward perform in a puddle the width of the stage, and a dynamite synchronized duo tap sequence for Luther Fontaine and Kirby Ward that stop the show. There's a reference to our hero's hope of beating Lindbergh to Paris, and a belly-dancing chorus-line when he actually ends up in Morocco. Sense? No, it makes as little sense as the "Ritz Quartet" of stock-market swells who get one quick routine and then disappear.

Nor is there much holding the singing, scatting, dancing Black trio "The New Rhythm Boys" in the plot, though Luther Fontaine and Peter Allen do their mightiest to give this Texas hayseed pilot lessons in Harlem hauteur and really smart hoofing. Robin Taylor as a lady airplane mechanic and Scott Mikita as a Russian no-'count end up stuck with one another as the lovers tie the knot and pitch the bouquet.

And yet it works. The settings for Gershwin songs, familiar or forgotten, are fresh and original. Each of the Wards for instance has a love-at-first-sight reaction, staring ga-ga at the frozen beloved singing "Blah-blah-blah-blah-moon...etc." while the first half closes with "Strike Up The Band" sung as a hesitant, tear-jerking ballad. And they may not walk on water, but they certainly can tap-dance on it!

Love,
===Anon.


"My One And Only" (till 12 August)
REAGLE PLAYERS
Robinson Theatre, Waltham High School, WALTHAM
1(781)891-5600

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