Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Crazy for You"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2005 by Tony Annicone

"Crazy for You"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The first show of Reagle Players 37th season is the 1992 musical "Crazy For You" an adaptation of the Gershwin's 1930 musical "Girl Crazy" which starred Ginger Rogers and Ethel Merman in their stage debuts. The show is about pampered playboy, Bobby Child who wants to be in show biz but his domineering banker mother wants him to be in charge of her business and sends him to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose on the mortgage of a long closed theater. Since this is the 1930's, it's rich boy meets poor girl and falls in love with her at first sight but girl hates boy because he is taking away her father's beloved theater. However all is not lost because there is much singing and dancing to erase everyone's troubles and as one of the hit number's says "Who Could Ask for Anything More". The direction by Kirby Ward and the musical direction by Jennifer Honen is topnotch in this well cast show but it is the dancing by a multitalented cast and the choreography by Eileen Grace who recreates Susan Stoman's original Broadway choreography that will leave you cheering in the aisles.

Robert Eagle who has produced every show for this group, keeps the production values at an all time high with the Broadway costumes by William Ivey Long and the scenery by Robin Wagner. Kirby keeps the set changes moving constantly by his splendid stage crew and he not only blocks and directs this huge show but plays Bobby Child in it, too. Kirby reminds you of a young Fred Astaire. He never seems to stop dancing from his first entrance to the closing of the show. His first big tap dance "I Can't Be Bothered Now" starts off on top of the car where he is joined by many chorus girls in clad in pink while his other number with the girls is "Nice Work" where he realizes he must return to Nevada and claim Polly again. Solo numbers include"Things Are Looking Up" when he falls in love with Polly and "They Can't Take That Away from Me" where he leaves Polly to return to NY. His most comic moments come when Bobby disguises himself as the famous producer Zangler to get Polly to fall in love with him. He is hilarious and the duet "What Causes That?" with Scott Mikita who plays the real Zangler perfectly with a German accent and haughty manner is a showstopper. It is reminiscent of an old Marx brothers routine with mirror images of each other while they are both dressed alike and both are drunk. Scott has a fantastic singing voice which is finally heard in this number. Kirby's real life wife, Beverly plays Polly. She is fantastic in this role and shows she is a triple threat performer. Beverly gives this girl, a backbone to stand up to a town full of man but also shows her feminine side when she falls in love and sings her sentiments in "Someone to Watch Over Me" and in "But Not for Me" which brings tears to your eyes. Beverly dances up a storm with Kirby in "Shall We Dance" done in front of a full moon backdrop and in the showstopping "I Got Rhythm" which she belts out to the crowd and leads the talented dancers in an energetic tap dance that left the audience cheering for more. Beverly handles the many comic moments with ease especially in "Embraceable You" where she pursues Bobby when he is disguised as Bela. Brava on a sensational performance.

Not only are the dancers superb but the character acting in this show is wonderful, too. Eilleen Grace gets these dancers to do some unbelievable work in all their numbers including a fight scene where they tumble down a huge set and a gorgeous follies number as well as some Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers dancing by the two leads. Daren Kelly is a hoot as the loudmouth, dumb barkeep, Lank. His overbearing behavior gets tamed by Bobby's ex-fiancee Irene played Joan Hess. She gets to sing "Naughty Baby" to Lank while hogtying him during it. The head chorine, Tess is played perfectly by Ellen Peterson. She helps Bobby with his schemes, helps him put together the show in the west and finally tames the roving eye of the real Bela. The other head chorus girl, Patsy is played by the long legged real life Rockette dancer, Melissa Sybil. Her dumb blonde character is hilarious with her crazy antics. So for a fabulous Broadway style production close to Boston, be sure to catch "Crazy for You" and just tell them Tony sent you to see some excellent dancing because he is "CRAZY" for it at Reagle Theater in Waltham.
(A word of praise goes to character actress Cheryl McMahon who plays the mother in this show on winning the IRNE best supporting actress award for her roles in "Grease" and "The Music Man" at Reagle Players last year.

"Crazy for You" (16 - 25 June)
Robinson Theatre, Waltham High School, 617 Lexington Street. WALTHAM MA
1 (781) 891-5600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide