“The play’s the thing….” And so we went. The hall was rudimentary but well-kept and the ticket takers, an apparently homeless woman and her waifish daughter stood at the door as if pulled from a Malthusian wasteland with their palms outstretched and their gaunt eyes imploring you for your last ducats, “$3 for students of all ages, $10 each for the breeders that brought the miserable lot into the world.” I stuck out my $20 bill and her laughter filled the cavernous hall and suddenly the back of my hand bore her mark, the hideous blackened pattern that all theater goers feel, the mark of the slightly smudged unicorn stamp that allows us to wander in vain hope of getting home in time for the last of the basketball game, only to be given the dreaded nod for “re-admittance….” ‘twas a painful mark to bear.
The lead was tight of bottom but bad of acting. Her ill-fated counterpart had the look, but not the chops, the show was carried by their 2nds, and it was firmly on the shoulder of the male supporting actor and it was he and his lieutenants who got the biggest cheers, and rightfully so. He spoke his lines with crystalline grace and enunciated well enough that finally we could understand a line or too.
Sandy’s rendition of “Hopelessly Devoted” was truly breathtaking, as in, she had so little lung power that she was taking breaths every 2-3 words, granted, many of the cast seem to have just come in from running a marathon, or at least a challenging 10k, forcing their lungs to work overtime on the easiest of notes. Perhaps it was the nerves, but why was she staring at the back left corner all during her solo? Did she have a very tall uncle with agoraphobia, or a very small teleprompter, or, a more likely explanation would be that, during one of her “inflatable guy with the floppy arms at the car dealer” imitation dances, she hit her head repeatedly and now can only deliver lines like a robot and dance like an aforementioned inflatable guy with the floppy arms you see at the car dealer.
Kenickie worked his magic across from a gum-smacking over-acting Rizzo who, though she had a solid voice, was one of the few leads NOT to be given a full-song solo. The timing was off on the funny parts, drama was lacking on the dramatic parts, the pianist in the pit, a tall, stunning blonde, lifted the small pit orchestra out of the doldrums, but it was some heavy-lifting . The drummer helped, but the sax-heavy woodwinds seemed to have assigned, at random pieces of sheet music just moments before the show.
Like all musicals the chorus and the supporting characters held a pot pourri of talent and trash. The Beauty School Dropout angel was a knock-out and will have a great voice in 2 years. “Freddy my lovd” showed the most emotional maturity, so I’d get that girl an therapist, she’s got too much sadness, and the boys pulled off Greased Lightening without too much job security. (OK, an admission, it’s late, I’m tired, but I committed to do a blog a day all month, I literally have NO idea what I meant to type starting with, “too much job security,” not a clue)
So, beyond the bad singing, the horrid staging, the cheap sets, the floppy-armed lead with a bad voice, and the re-written lyrics to make it family friendly, I’ll give it 5-stars, a Thumbs Up and an “Atta Boy” since my daughter was chorus girl =#5 in red, and she did a fantastic job.
Have a great blog writing month!!! Click the NaBoPoMo link in the upper left if you want to try it hop.