Showtune: Celebrating the Words & Music of Jerry Herman

Showtune: Celebrating the Words & Music of Jerry Herman

Showtune: Celebrating the Words & Music of Jerry Herman
Concept by Paul Gilger
Arrangements by James Followell
Directed by Michael Edwards
Musical Direction by Chris Leavy
Winter Park Playhouse, Winter Park, FL

COlavolpe. ColAVOLpe. ColavolPE. Get it RIGHT, dammit! Ok, as for the show:

Winter Park Playhouse has been on a run with Composer Specific shows lately, and this one is pretty good. Jerry Herman is one of those big name composers from the golden age of musicals; he’s most associated with “Mame” and “Hello, Dolly”, and the more recent “La Cage Aux Folles” “Mack And Mabel” is another title drawn upon extensively tonight; it’s a more obscure 1974 show with good music and poor notices. There are notional scenes here, but no costume changes and a rotating carousel of singers and possible relations. No wrenching story line here, rather a random seeming sequence of tunes.

But that’s not to say there’s anything wrong; the music is grand and there are plenty of the little plus signs in my notes for the really good numbers. Michael Colavolpe is “Man One” who shines with Woman 1 (Pricilla Bagley) in Mack and Mabel’s “I Won’t Send Roses”. That show reappears in the second act where Man 3 (Josue Kolb) is Nelson Eddy to Woman 3’s (Kayla Kelsay – Morales) Jeanette MacDonald and with Colavolpe as legendary director Mack Sennet. Nelson was full of himself then and still is, long after his death in 1967. Kolb reappears later with Ms. Kelsay-Moraleas for the one tap number of the evening (“Tap Your Troubles Away”), which was well executed and way too short. The company came together for La Cage’s “I Am What I Am” with Woman 2 (Kelly Morris Rowan) in the lead; this should have stopped the show but it did get vigorous applause. And then there was the charming Man 2 (Benjamin Ptashinsky) who joined with pianist Chris “Man 4” Leavy for Mame’s “Man in the Moon.” Not every song here was famous, but all played together well, and there was even an impressive staircase on stage even if it only led to a rope ladder behind the curtain. No confusing plot here; just ringing songs delivered with skill and pizzaz.

For more information on Winter Park Playhouse, visit http://www.winterparkplayhouse.org/

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