Tag: Dallas Summer Musicals


REVIEW: Nice Show and You Should See It

The star of Nice Work if You Can Get It, the current production of Dallas Summer Musicals at the Fair Park Music Hall, isn’t one of its leads. The star of this show actually is its chorus.

Yes, the chorus is what keeps you waiting for the next musical number and the next, because this production is filled with talented dancers, great singers and some old-school hoofing In the show packed with timeless tunes penned by George and Ira Gershwin, the music shines and David Eggers’ upbeat choreography sparkles. Whether it’s a pinstripe-wearing vice squad or pink-bubbled bathers, the musical numbers are ridiculously fun.

The plot is thin, but musical theater lovers won’t care. Set in the Roaring Twenties, the comedy follows a wealthy playboy on the verge of his wedding who meets a blonde bootlegger. Plenty of funny lines are thrown in along the predictable story that features a charming and boyish Alex Enterline as the male lead and petite Mariah MacFarlane as the female lead. If there’s a weak link, it’s MacFarlane whose voice is strong but whose transitions from rough-talking bootlegger to songstress can be startlingly abrupt.

But enjoying the old-fashioned musical farce and forgiving its flaws is easy.  Nice Work if You Can Get It will leave audiences singing “ ‘S Wonderful.”

The show (dallassummermusicals.org)  continues through Sunday at Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas, then moves to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth for a run Sept. 16 through 21.

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REVIEW: Take a Chance on This Fun Show

The music of ABBA is showcased in the current musical at Fair Park.

DALLAS _ It doesn’t matter if you were a fan of the musical group ABBA back in the day, today or tomorrow. The show, “Mamma Mia!,” based on its songs is fun.

Now playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park through June 15, the high-energy show slams through such ditties as “Dancing Queen,” “Does Your Mother Know” and “Take a Chance on Me” for two-and-a-half hours. It’s a throw-back to the ’70s and ’80s, platform shoes and all, taking place on a Greek island just before a inn keeper’s daughter’s wedding. The plot is thin, but if the expectation is for a fun night of singing and dancing, the expectation will be met and easily exceeded. This show, after all, is entertaining enough that it’s been a Broadway fixture since 2001 and inspired a hit movie, too.

Even when the lead is replaced by her understudy, the Dallas Summer Musicals presentation (www.dallassummermusicals.com)  doesn’t suffer even one false step of a platform shoe. Opening night understudy Rebecca Mason-Wygall took over the role of Donna, and didn’t miss a pop music beat. She plays the mother and owner of a small Greek inn whose only daughter is about to marry. The question is which of three possible fathers should walk her down the aisle. 

Don’t overthink it because the production numbers are big and bold, and the comedy is cute. The jokes, the language and the overall story make this a show clearly not aimed at children but adults of a certain age will get a kick out of the costumes and the music.

Biggest mistake you can make at this show is to duck out before you’ve seen the entire curtain call. Don’t be in such a hurry to get back in Dallas traffic or you might miss something you haven’t seen in a decade or two.

 

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REVIEW: ‘Little Mermaid’ See-Worthy Musical

Ariel finds Prince Eric, just what this mermaid was searching for.

Ariel finds Prince Eric, just what this mermaid was searching for.

Borrowing a six-year-old girl isn’t necessary to enjoy “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” the current Dallas Summer Musicals (dallassummermusicals.org) in Dallas. Even a jaded, seen-it-all adult will enjoy this family-friendly show, staged through Sunday at the Music Hall at Fair Park. The costumes are so lavish, the sets so imaginative, the lighting so dramatic that adults and their children will delight in this sea fantasy featuring Alan Menken’s music. The popular Disney animated film is transported to stage in an undulating incarnation of bubbles, fish, sea gulls, sailors and, of course, mermaids. Those who loved the movie won’t be disappointed. Chelsea Morgan Stock handles the title role well, combining girlish wonder with a beautiful voice and rendering a sweet, near perfect version of ”Part of Your World.” Tap dancing sea gull, Scuttle, played by Matt Allen, highlights Act II with his comical malapropisms, and Liz McCartney steals the spotlight with her rendition of Ursula the sea witch and the movie’s well-remembered song “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” The true stars of the show are the lovely costumes designed by Amy Clark and Mark Koss, the amazing sets by Kenneth Foy and the innovative lighting. All together it makes the production numbers entertaining and fun. “Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” a version of a Broadway show now revised by Dallas Summer Musicals, is a bubble of a musical. Only a poor, unfortunate soul would miss it.

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REVIEW: ‘Ghost’ Makes a Loud Appearance

For those thinking of taking in “Ghost the Musical” during its north Texas tour, here’s some advice:

Bring ear plugs.

“Ghost the Musical,” presented by Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.com), will run through Feb. 9 at the Musical Hall at Fair Park before it jumps to Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth. The show, adapted from the Academy Award-winning movie,

It is loud, loud, loud, ringing much beyond rock-concert decibel-level. The female lead, Katie Postotnik, hits most of her notes, which is difficult to do when you’re screaming the lyrics. Add to that a slow-moving plot and only one memorable song, and the result is a long evening.

The show, adapted from the Academy Award-winning movie, is set in modern day New York, and the musical reflects a contemporary edge. Focused on the couple Sam and Molly, the fantasy follows what happens after Sam is murdered, just as in the movie featuring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

In this stage version, the musical numbers’ multi-media special effects are the most interesting part of this production, but it can’t rescue the entire show.  The best performance comes from comic Carla R. Stewart, who plays the part made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the film, but her comedy is not enough to save the production.

The Righteous Brothers’ song “Unchained Melody” and the pottery scene, both so much a part of the film version of “Ghost,” are a part of the musical, but without nearly the swoony impact of the movie. In fact, what director Matthew Warchus has done with “Ghost the Musical” is really pretty scary.

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REVIEW: 'White Christmas' a Holiday Card for Texas

 

The current offering at the Music Hall at Fair Park extends Christmas until Dec. 29.

The current offering at the Music Hall at Fair Park extends Christmas until Dec. 29.

If you dream of living inside a Christmas card, then dream your way over to The Music Hall at Fair Park for the musical “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.”

The classic holiday movie transitions beautifully to the stage in this national touring production complete with Bing Crosby’s title song and my personal favorite, “Sisters,” with pale blue dresses and fans which will not disappoint.

For the uninitiated, the show-within-a-show focuses on two Army buddies, two singing sisters and a Vermont inn missing a little snow and a lot of guests. This production, presented by Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.org) in time for the holiday season is a nostalgic showcase for Irving Berlin’s music such as “Happy Holiday,” Blue Skies” and “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep.” In this show, also deserving star billing are the fabulous costumes by Carrie Robbins and the big-musical-style choreography by Randy Skinner.

Standout performances come from light-on-his-feet David Elder as Phil Davis, and tap-dancing wonder Meredith Patterson as blonde bombshell Judy Haynes. The two all but stop the show with “I Love a Piano,” which opens Act II and give the entire show a retro look into the happy musicals of another era.

“Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” continues through Dec. 29, giving theater lovers a chance to extend their Christmas cheer, a lot like shaking that snow globe one more time. Take your sister; she’ll love it, along with the rest of the family.

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REVIEW: Brother, This is Some Act (or Two)

Sisters receive some divine inspiration in the current musical offered by Dallas Summer Musicals.

Sisters receive some divine inspiration in the current musical offered by Dallas Summer Musicals.

Sometimes it just takes a while to get things rolling. Maybe with divine inspiration, something normal becomes a religious experience.

Take “Sister Act,” the touring production currently staged at the Music Hall at Fair Park. The first act is certainly pleasant enough, but like a gospel preacher who gets worked up the longer he goes, this musical has the audience shouting hallelujahs by the end of the second act.

The upbeat musical stars Ta’Rea Campbell as Deloris Van Cartier, a diva of a singer who just happens to witness a murder. Where better to put someone whose taste runs to short skirts and high boots than a convent? She is met by Mother Superior, played by Hollis Resnik, and a sad little choir comprised of screechy nuns. As their music improves, so do their outfits, making the second act worth waiting for. The black and white habits give way to dazzling costumes fit for a religious Liberace, and the songs get a dose of Motown mixed with disco.

The show truly features the music, and it’s a singer’s show. With dancing taking a back seat, the focus is on the vocals and they are heavenly. Presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, “Sister Act” features an original score by Alan Menken, even though it’s based on the Whoopi Goldberg movie by the same name. In 2011, the Broadway production received five Tony Award nominations including one for best score. The performers voices are outstanding, and their comic timing helps get the show plenty of laughs.

“Sister Act” (www.sisteractontour.com) continues through June 16 in Dallas before moving to Fort Worth’s Bass Hall. It’s a religious experience.

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REVIEW: Who Says Disco's Dead?

Disco, afro wigs and a road trip mix it up in the latest Dallas Summer Musical presentation.

Disco, afro wigs and a road trip mix it up in the latest Dallas Summer Musical presentation.

Love the night life? Want to boogie?

Then you’ll love “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” now playing at the Music Hall at Fair Park.

The fab production spotlights one fun disco song after another. Beginning with “It’s Raining Men” sung by three high-strung divas and rolling on with such tunes as “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Go West” and “Boogie Wonderland,” this show is a bell-bottomed romp down memory lane, musically speaking. The thin plot focuses on a road trip through the Australian outback, but the story line is just a backdrop for the fun. It’s not Shakespeare because it doesn’t take itself nearly that seriously.

The musical numbers don’t so much steal the show as they are the show. The eye-catching co-stars are the costumes, which won a 2011 Tony Award, and they’re wild, colorful and silly.

Gender-bending performers take the stage, and they proved they could dance, they could sing and when the microphones messed up, they could ad lib a funny line or two. “Priscilla” offers plenty of comedy–some of it fairly raunchy–and the actors drop a few F-bombs so even if it’s a light comedy, it’s really not family fare.

But with “I Will Survive,” “Hot Stuff” and “I Love the Nightlife” mixed with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and a few other choice hits, the show’s perfect for girls’ night out, disco dancers, platform shoe freaks and afro-loving guys. Be there before this happy Dallas Summer Musical presentation closes May 26, so you can shake your groove thing. Yeah, yeah.

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REVIEW: Musical Treats in Time for Halloween

'The Addams Family' musical haunts the Music Hall at Fair Park in time for Halloween. Photo courtesy Jeremy Daniel.

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Talk about perfect timing-”The Addams Family” musical makes it to Dallas in time for the holiday–Halloween, of course. That would have to be the high holy days for this show based on the bizarre, twisted family first created by cartoonist Charles Addams in the 1930s.

Yes, the creepy, cartoonish Morticia, Gomez, Uncle Fester, Wenesday and Pugsley have hit the stage at the Music Hall at Fair Park for the north Texas premier of the national tour. The musical comedy with a look on the dark side of life gives those in the mood to celebrate this month of spookiness a festive alternative to haunted houses.

This musical features the Addams Family, once the subject of numerous cartoons and a 1960s TV show, in a bit of a family dilemna. Daughter Wednesday has fallen in love with a boy who is–gasp–rather normal. He’s from middle America, and his mother dares to wear yellow, shocking to the Addams, a family entrenched in black.

The show is clever with its sometimes dark, sometimes PG-rated humor. Cortney Wolfson is adorably kooky as Wednesday with a great voice. Douglas Sills as Gomez, who remains smitten with his shapely wife, and Blake Hammond as the moon-obsessed Uncle Fester are terrific in their roles. The ghostly-spirits of the ensemble are great dancers who add a lot to the show. Sara Gettelfinger’s turn as Morticia is remarkable mostly for her ability to refrain from a wardrobe malfunction in a dress that is cut distractingly, scarily low.

“The Addams Family” opened on Broadway in March of 2010 and closed in December 2011. It was a popular show with audiences, but one without much critical acclaim. No Tony Award for this show, and neither does it boast a real toe-tapping musical number. So it’s fun like candy corn or popcorn balls–nothing too meaty but something that leaves you happy.

Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.org) presents this spirited musical through Oct. 21. Bring your fingers to snap along with the overture, and you’ll open the door to more treats that creeps.

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Add Up the Reasons

There are at least three reasons to see the national tour of  “Memphis,” the current offering at The Music Hall at Fair Park:

The music.

The dancing.

The history lesson.

The score by Bon Jovi’s David Bryan, the terrific production numbers and the glimpse into the U.S. racial landscape of the 1950s are all great reasons to see this show. The cast is top-notch, so you can add that as reason number four to see this show. Bryan Fenkart plays the white, goofy radio DJ, Huey, and Felicia Boswell portrays the ambitious, black singer. Both are outstanding in the two leading roles, and are backed-up by singers and dancers

Presented by Dallas Summer Musicals, this national tour of the show that won the 2010 Tony for best musical runs through May 27th. Check www.dallassummermusicals.org for “Memphis” ticket information and show times.

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REVIEW: Choreography to Cheer About

At least two cheers, if not three, are in order for the star of “Bring It On: The Musical,” the current Dallas Summer Musicals (www.dallassummermusicals.org).

The star of this musical built upon modern-day cheerleading is the choreography. Dance number after cheerleading routine after dance number is so much fun to watch that you might just wish for pom-pons to wave.

Behind it the high-spririted musical is Tony Award-winning director and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler whose creativity really is something to cheer about. The cast, which features some regular Broadway types but also a squad full of experienced, competitive cheerleaders, executes the choreography well enough to earn top honors at any cheer camp.

This musical, boasting no big-name stars and featuring a very predictable storyline, looks at competitive high school cheerleading. Tryouts, backstage jitters, jealousy, practice–it’s all there, except no self-respecting cheerleader would ever pair her uniform with high heels.

But it serves as a short-cut to the stereotypes found in most high schools. There’s the blonde cheerleading captain, her best friend, the back-stabbing wannabe, the gay guy, the high school stud. Sprinkle them through two rival high schools and focus on the cheerleading, and you’ve got the basis for this show. If you’ve ever been in the modern-day cheerleading world where “Herkie” Herkimer from Dallas is the patron saint of this sport and competition is a given, you’ll know how close some of the show comes to real life. If you weren’t in the world of stunts and tryouts and ponytails, you can still enjoy the show.

The songs by Tom Kitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Amanda Green aren’t even listed in the show’s program. They’re nice enough, but it serves to emphasize what really is the star of this show: the movements, explosive and aerobatic.

Bring It On: The Musical will be presented by Dallas Summer Musicals through Feb. 26 at the Music Hall at Fair Park. It’ll make you want to do a toe-touch.

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