Sunday, November 18, 2018

Crazy for You: Gershwin Galore

Crazy for You  

Bobby (Conor DeVoe) and Chorus

NOV 10 - DEC 16, 2018

Bay Area Musicals

Alcazar Theater
650 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA

Music by George Gershwin
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Book by Ken Ludwig
Direction and Choreography by Matthew McCoy
Musical Direction by Jon Gallo

I like a Gershwin about you?

If you also like lots of singing and dancing and don’t mind an insipid, outworn plot, then you may enjoy Bay Area Musical's production of Crazy for You, a mishmash of Gershwin songs from the 1930 Girl Crazy and other productions. For this "New Gershwin Musical Comedy" from 1992, it’s pretty dated.

Under the direction of Matthew McCoy, BAM players put their hearts and hooves into this production that was unfortunately weakened by the flimsy premise, missed comic timing (where throwaway humor was really thrown away), audio problems, and mismatched energies of some performers. But then again, it’s quite the feat to capture that big Broadway show feel on the Alcazar stage.
Bobby Child (Conor DeVoe) is a bored rich kid who’s gotta dance and tries out for the bright lights, big stage, and Broadway thrill of the Zangfeld Follies. When dispatched by his greedy mother Irene Roth (Mary Gibboney) to foreclose on a property way out West in Nevada, he meets his match in Polly Baker (Danielle Alitzio), the feisty daughter of vaudeville actors who fights to keeps the old hotel, stage, and post office running. Surprise! Love triumphs over greed but not without some mishaps, some funny, some tedious.

Polly (Danielle Alitzio), Bobby (Conor DaVoe) and Chorus

Let’s talk about what’s good. First of all, the dancing! Matthew McCoy and Danielle Chaiken do justice to Susan Stroman’s choreography for the original Broadway production. The chorus girls are a collection of quirky personalities who dance and sing in sparkly and fun costumes designed by Bruce Jennings and Ge Jia. They are a joy to see, with special standout by Danielle Chaiken as Tess, keeping a snappy wryness to her everygirl character. The chorus of “cowboys” is equally delightful, and when the entire chorus moves together it’s a dazzling spectacle.

Conor DeVoie is a exubeant dancer, comfortable in his body, and fun to watch. He has a knack for physical comedy, from his facial expressions and doubletakes to the goofy, Marx Brothers-inspired “mirror” scene he has with Bela Zangfeld (Tony Michaels). Danielle Alitzio as his counterpart Polly is equally adept with the steps but somehow kept within her own sphere of energy. Her rendition of "Someone to Watch Over Me" didn’t have the soulful yearning this song was made for. As good as she was with song and dance, she seemed uncomfortable.

The main weakness is the play itself. Despite the energy of some talented people, the story is flat-footed, clumsy and at times boring. Although there are things to enjoy in this production, crazy for it I am not.

Crazy for You
Bay Area Musicals

Polly Baker, Danielle Altizio
Bobby Child, Conor Devoe*
Irene Roth, Morgan Peters
Bela Zangler, Tony Michaels
Lottie/Patricia Fodor, Mary Gibboney
Perkins/Eugene Fodor, Paul Plain
Everett Baker, Charles Evans
Lank Hawkins, Sean McGrory
Tess, Danielle Cheiken
Patsy, Zoe Swenson-Graham
Mitzi, Leslie Waggoner
Elaine, Alyson Chilton
Louise, Katie Baritell
Susie, Laura Morgan
Moose, Lucas Brandt
Mingo, Mitchell Mosley
Sam, Jean-Paul Jones
Harry, Patrick Brewer
Junior, Brendan Looney
Custus, Jesse Cortez
*Denotes a member of Actors’ Equity Association

Matthew McCoy, Director & Choreographer
Jon Gallo, Musical Director
Danielle Cheiken, Assistant Choreographer
Cat Knight, Stage Manager
Andrea Fanelli, Assnt. Stage Manager
Kayleigh Glenn, Assnt. Stage Manager
Kuo-Hao Lo, Set Designer
Brooke Jennings, Costume Designer
Eric Johnson, Lighting Designer
Anton Hedman, Sound Engineer
Clay David, Prop Designer
Jackie Dennis, Wig Designer
Laurence Tasse, Sound Board Op
Richard Gutierrez, Wardrobe Master
Ge Jia, Assnt. Costume Designer
Stewart Lyle, Technical Director
AC Hay, Master Electrician

Sonja Lindsay - Trumpet
Jeremy Carrillo - Trombone
Will Berg - Woodwinds
Kjirsten Grove - Keyboard / Woodwinds
Jon Gallo - Keyboard / Conductor
Kyle Wong - Bass
Dominic Moisane - Drums

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