New Format, Same Fluffy 'Blonde' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Thursday, 05 July 2012 15:52

OK. I give up.

Seeing the fluffily foolish entertainment that is “Legally Blonde, The Musical” for the second time in two weeks, I have to admit to enjoying the musical in whatever Legally Blonde The Barn Theatre Augusta, Michproduction format it appears, providing the cast is up to the challenge of almost non-stop vocals and highly energetic dancing.

The “straight stage” version (performed in a traditional venue) opened Tuesday evening at The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Mich. My previous encounter was presented in the round. It seems that the megaton of energy exuded by the primary blonde, Elle Woods (here played with unshakable determination and irresistibly kooky charm by Melissa Cotton) is just about impossible to ignore.

The score still lacks anything that I can recall this morning but, at the time, it was totally entertaining. Guess that means you have to be there.

Pink, pink and more pink is the color of every day for Elle and her sisters of Delta Nu Sorority at UCLA. When their collective anticipation of Elle’s engagement to Warner Huntington III (Jamey Grisham, also the show’s choreographer and a dead ringer for film Warner, Matthew Davis) is dashed by his determination to find someone more “Serious,” they muster their considerable forces to send her off in his direction, that being Harvard Law School.

Little Heat In SBCT's 'Anna In The Tropics' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 19:25

The Wilson Mainstage Auditorium is the venue for the South Bend Civic Theatre production of Nilo Cruz’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics,” which opened Anna in the Tropics South Bend Civic Theatrea two-weekend run Friday evening.

In spite of the excellent scene design by David Chudzinski and Doug Hildeman’s mood-setting lighting, this is one play that might have been better served in the theater’s smaller and more intimate alternative space, the downstairs Warner Studio Theatre, aka the black box.

The intimate nature of the narrative and the sultry atmosphere of the Ybor City, Fla., warehouse in which the action is set seem to loose depth in the ultra-airy auditorium.

Under the direction of Kevin Dryer, the eight-member cast never drops a line or misses a directional change. What it does, however, is to miss the smoldering intensity that must underscore each of the changing relationships.

WW's 'Legally Blonde' Is In The Pink PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Friday, 22 June 2012 17:25


Everything is absolutely positive and positively pink on stage at the Wagon Wheel Theatre where “Legally Blonde” opened Wednesday evening.

Legally Blonde  Wagon Wheel Theatre  Warsaw INThe story of Elle Woods and her determined pursuit of happiness in the form of Warner Huntington III is offered with the usual spit and polish of every WW production.

Complete with director/choreographer Scott Michaels always amazing dance numbers (how do they do that on such a small stage???), Michael Higgins’ absolutely appropriate set (towering pink hair rollers moved to define one location after another), Stephen R. Hollenbeck’s maximum pink costumes, a multi-talented cast and two canine characters that go straight to the heart, “Legally Blonde” is the perfect way to spend a couple of hours in a cotton candy world without gaining an ounce.

Beginning its life as a novel, then moving to the big screen in 2001 as a straight comedy and finally, with music by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, coming to Broadway in 2007, “Legally Blonde” may hold the record for the number of touring companies (two U.S. and nine foreign) in the shortest amount of time.

New Wrappings, Same Old Joey PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Thursday, 21 June 2012 17:29

Sometimes it’s better to let well enough alone.

Pal Joey The Barn Theatre Augusta MISuch is the case with the latest rewrite of “Pal Joey,” the 1940 musical with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, which opened Tuesday evening at The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Mich. The latest book is by Patrick Pacheco.

“Pal Joey” was reportedly the first musical to have an anti-hero as its primary character. Since then, audiences have become familiar with that type, even when he is singing and dancing. The key is charm, with a capital C. If this is lacking, the show has two strikes already.

The Barn cast has a number of very charming characters. Joey (Joseph Anthony Byrd) is not among them. Byrd has a pleasant baritone and adequately executes the limited choreography created by Jamey Grisham but his portrayal of a shallow but charismatic climber who uses everyone to his own ends falls short, even in spite of the Sinatra-style Fedora hat he wears almost constantly, and the hint of reconciliation with his waitress/artist girlfriend Linda, which is much more than he deserves.

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