The Lion in Winter at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre May 10, 2013Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Theatre.
Tags: Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, Laurie Atwood, Rob Roy, The Lion in WInter, Thom Johnson
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I don’t usually review plays, just musicals, but I wanted to give a shout-out to the terrific production of THE LION IN WINTER currently being produced at the Arthur Miller Theater by Ann Arbor Civic Theatre.
Thom Johnson directs James Goldman’s quip-filled look at the Plantagenets one Christmas eve, shortly before history would set its course as Henry II’s son Richard would eventually win the thrown, while King Philip of France divided up his holdings and led to the eventual Angevin decline. Here Henry II has freed his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, for the Christmas holidays and his sons, battling for the throne, set about their early stages of rebellion — it is said that they spend more time together on stage during The Lion in Winter than they did in all their years of real life.
Rob Roy is excellent as Henry II, while Laurie Atwood is sublime as Eleanor. Their scenes together are an example of what can be done with James Goldman’s hilarious dialogue, and a storyline that outdoes any kind of family dysfunction we can imagine today. There’s a reason this play stands the test of time — and this terrific cast does it justice across the board. Its a reminder that once upon a time on Broadway, a drama could be filled with humor too.
Eli Tell makes for a pouty son John; Geoffrey’s duplicity is skillfully played by Anthony L. Morton; and eventual King Richard is played by Jarrod Cassar alternating between commanding and bewildered. Richard Graham is a fine (if young) Philip Capet, and Anna Paone plays his sister Alais who becomes a pawn in their game, with skill.
The simple but effective set is adorned with Debra Golden’s beautiful hand-painted faux-tapestries. Nan Wirth’s costumes create character and define the high Medieval time-period appropriately.
There are some reminders that this isn’t professional theater — scene changes take too long and things bang and clang in the process; the sound editing is poor, instead of fading music it just jarringly ends at full volume with full lights up cues, and lighting is minimal – mostly lights up and lights down for scenes.
Still, you’ll have a bloody (pun kinda intended) good time at this Lion — recommended.
THE LION IN WINTER plays through Sunday May 12th at the Arthur Miller Theater. Tickets at a2ct.org or at the door.
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It’s hard to make a “best of” list in this area of the country, since the blend of collegiate, community, and professional often overlap and sometimes Community theater productions can be as good as (or better) than some professional productions, while at other times, college shows can look better than Broadway tours….nonetheless, here is my summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly…
The Best overall community theater production this past year was: GREY GARDENS at Ann Arbor Civic Theater. Special kudos to Kathy Waugh for her terrific performance.
The Best summer theater production was: SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS at Croswell Opera House. Its been a long long time since Croswell had such a dance-tacular production, thanks to the Hissong’s direction and choreography.
The Best summer theater production that was indistinguishable from a Broadway Tour: AVENUE Q at Croswell Opera House. It was so good, it was hard to even compare it to other local productions, it had to be held to professional Broadway tour standards — and it was as good as, if not better, than the tour that came through Michigan a few years ago.
Speaking of tours: The best Broadway Tour to come through Detroit was: JEKYLL & HYDE — Broadway Bound with a spectacular Tobin Ost set, and a remarkable performance by Constantine Maroulis.
The best Broadway Tour to come through Wharton Center in East Lansing was: ANYTHING GOES, with a touring cast led by Rachel York that was stronger than the Original Broadway cast.
The best local university musical was: CHICAGO at the University of Michigan. Although it had strong runners-up in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE (also at UM) and LEGALLY BLONDE at MSU. Also delicious was SWEENEY TODD at Sienna Heights.
Speaking of Legally Blonde: I saw 4 productions of this show, and despite varied levels of good lead performances, it just goes to show that this is a musical that is hard to recreate without a multi-million dollar budget. The Original Broadway production is so deeply visually ingrained (thanks to MTV’s relentless showings a few years ago) that any non-professional production just pales in comparison. One favorite note: in the Croswell production, when the trailer door stuck, David Blackburn hilariously announced “I’ll just use the back door!” and came around from stage left complete with bulldog. It was the biggest laugh of any show I saw this past year.
The best small-cast show of the year: THE LAST 5 YEARS at Jackson Symphony Space — Jayna Katz and Adam Woolsey blew the roof off of the place nightly.
The best “becoming an annual tradition around here” musical: EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL at Dexter Community Players. Expanding community theater’s boundaries by squirts and bounds, with a strong cast and twice the splatter-power.
I wasn’t impressed much by any of the local professional musical theater productions this year, although there were some mighty fine performances. The Dionysus Theater made a strong debut as a professional theater company with their holiday offering HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS – right out of the gate hitting all the right notes in a finely performed production in a gorgeous proscenium theater space. A couple shows will go without mention here, because I abhor when major changes are made to Broadway musicals to fit a director’s “vision” or a small budget — but it is worthy to mention the lovely GODSPELL at Encore, where Dan Cooney took a show that has become bloated and almost unwatchable over the years, and turned it into a fresh, sparse, and clown-makeup-free delight.
Finally — one “ugly” — the reworked BEAUTY AND THE BEAST arrived at the Stranahan on tour, with a non-equity NETworks production, featuring some of the ugliest costumes and sets I have seen in a Broadway tour. UGH.
Scrumptious “Sunday in the Park with George” – University of Michigan Musical Theatre program (Review) October 21, 2012Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Broadway Musicals, musical theater, Musicals.
Tags: Sunday in the Park with George, University of Michigan Musical Theater
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Continuing in a long string of the most professionally produced and technically proficient musicals in Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan Department of Musical Theater presents a scrumptious “Sunday in the Park with George” at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater.
Directed by Mark Madama, musically directed by Cynthia Kortman Westphal and Alexander Gemingnani (who also conducts), the production virtually channels the original Broadway Production with excellent performances by all actors, and gorgeous set design by Arthur Ridley and Costume Design by Rachel Ridley (with a smattering of costumes from American Players Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival). It also has some of the most remarkable sound design I have heard in the Lydia Mendelssohn (kudos to Jim Lillie).
While all of the performers are excellent (as should be, given the pre-eminent musical theater program), Trevor St. John-Gilbert is outstanding in his role of George/George and Madison Micucci is superb in her role as Dot/Marie. On stage virtually the entire performance, they bring excellent musical theater singing and acting chops to the very difficult Sondheim score.
You already know my schtick — there is absolutely nobody in Michigan that does better musical theater productions than the University of Michigan’s musical theatre program. You can take the cast, sets, and costumes and plunk it into any professional theater in America. As usual, the run is entirely sold out, so I will not list ticket information here. For the remaining performances, cancellations, if any, are available at the box office before show time. Don’t count on it. For those who perpetually miss the boat on buying their tickets, just know that season tickets go on sale early each year for the following season. It’s the best ticket in town. Really.
Summer 2012 Musical Theater Scorecard – SE Michigan August 21, 2012Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Broadway Musicals, Broadway Tour, Community Theater, Detroit, Entertainment, musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
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So — now that the summer musical theater has pretty much ended in SE Michigan for the year, what was the scorecard?
Best of the Best:
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Croswell Opera House)
Les Miserables Student Edition (Croswell Opera House)
The Last Five Years (K&W Productions, Ann Arbor Musical Theatre Company)
Avenue Q (Croswell Opera House)
Wicked (Tour – Wharton Center)
Memphis (Tour – Wharton Center)
Les Miserables (Tour – Wharton Center)
Legally Blonde (MSU Theater Department)
Legally Blonde (Centre Stage Jackson)
Legally Blonde (Croswell Opera House)
Fiddler on the Roof (Encore Musical Theater Company)
Nunsense (Encore Musical Theater Company)
Just Plain Bad:
Beauty and the Beast (Non-Equity Tour – Fisher Theater and Stranahan Theater)
All in all, not a bad summer season for local musical theater. The biggest surprise: the reworked Seven Brides at Croswell. The biggest disappointment: the multiple Legally Blondes, none of which lived up to their full potential (although Marlena Hilderley’s Elle at Croswell was sublime). Also, not reviewed but occurring were the many community theater productions around the area, including Annie at Dexter Community Players; the Anniversary Celebration at Chelsea Area Players; and many many others. Onto the fall local and touring season…Current recommendation: Anything Goes tour at Wharton Center — don’t miss buying your tickets now before they are all gone.
Superb cast in Encore’s GODSPELL (review) March 31, 2012Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Broadway Musicals, musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
Tags: Dan Cooney, Encore Musical Theatre Company, Godspell, Godspell musical
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GODSPELL arrived at the Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter last night, and it is a tribute to director Dan Cooney and his superb cast and musicians that this production ranks right up there among the best, and in some ways superior to the current Broadway production.
This is an earthy revival of the show — and its 70′s roots shine through only momentarily as it runs its fleet two-hour course through many of the parables found in the book of Matthew. Trimming some of the fat; re-ephasizing portions of the show often left to be the dreck that they are; and finding some truly brilliant moments in it all (take the vaudeville quarter-size dancing body puppets as one of those examples), Cooney has brought his own spin to the material, and it all works very well on Encore’s stage (here transformed into a dilapidating old theater by stage designer Leo Babcock).
Let me be the first to say that if you asked my opinion on the ten musicals that rank among the worst ever written that have somehow managed to make it into the popular repertoire, Godspell is one of them. That being said, this production manages to avoid most of the pitfalls usually associated with the show: gone is the opening mumbo-jumbo philosophy section; gone are the ridiculous hand puppets; gone is the glitter and confetti and (thank God) the clown outfits.
Rusty Mewha both acts and sings with brio here as Jesus — in fact, his range just continues to grow and grow in the many shows I have now seen him perform in. Brian Thibault performs a solid Judas. The remainder of the cast is sublime — Brian E. Buckner not only performs but also plays piano in the ensemble; Keith Kalinowski shines in each of his numbers; Sonja Marquis and Amy Smidebush sing to the rafters; Angela Kay Miller and Fatima Poggi hit all the right notes in their various ensemble duties; Charles Lindsay is an angelic-voiced Lamar; and Tara Tomcsik delivers the evenings funniest lines and routines (her tap-dancing opening to Act II is both hilarious and demonstrates masterful control of overblown and very funny tap steps).
As the show works its way through Vaudeville; Grand Opera; Westerns: Gangster Flicks; and even a bit of A Chorus Line, the parables are clearly delineated stories, and I must say, Cooney has done a fine job of making sure that they are understandable and defined (something that can not be said of the energetic but bombastic current Broadway revival). Barb Cullen’s choreography matches the styles perfectly and blends nicely between movement and stage action. It bears repeating how glad I was that the hand-puppets are nowhere to be seen.
There was an opening night glitch when the voluminous stage smoke effect in Act II set off the building’s fire alarm. The cast didn’t miss a beat and worked their way through a portion of the show with the whining alarm in the background — and it says something that the audience sat raptly involved in the whole thing to the point where the alarm itself was barely discernible.
But this night belonged to Cooney and his cast. They are magnificent.
GODSPELL continues at the Encore Musical Theatre Company through April 22. Tickets are available at http://www.theencoretheatre.org or the box office at 3126 Broad Street, Dexter, MI 734-268-6200
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Ann Arbor has its first must-see musical of the season — and it is brought to you by way of Ann Arbor Civic Theatre and their production of GREY GARDENS at the Arthur Miller Theater at the University of Michigan.
In a mesmerizing star-turn as Edith Beale/Little Edie Kathy Waugh turns on the charm and vocal highlights necessary for this very difficult dual-role and it is spectacular. You can’t keep your eyes off of her. Matching her blow-for-blow in Act II, Laurie Atwood plays the now-aged Edith Beale with both humor and pity so essential to this piece.
Under the direction of Edmond Reynolds, the remainder of the cast is generally strong — Thalia Schramm as Young Little Edie is particularly good; Sebastian Gerstner both charming and catty as George Gould Strong, and Charles Sutherland steady and able as Major Bouvier. The rest of the cast is comprised of Christopher Joseph (as Brooks Sr and Jr); Maeve Donovan and Audrey Wright as the Bouvier children; and Kevin Douglas Jr as Joe Kennedy and Jerry.
A true standout here is the superb orchestra work, under the direction of Tyler Driskill and a virtual who’s-who of Ann Arbor musicians in the 11-piece ensemble. It’s one of the strongest orchestras I have heard locally for a musical, professional or otherwise.
There is the rare stumble that reminds you that this is not professional theater — Leo Babcock’s well-designed set is sloppily painted; there are a few light cues that take a bit too long; and the costume design is hit-and-miss, especially a particularly glaring gaff in Young Edie’s engagement dress, which my theater partner last night turned to me and said “should be burned immediately”.
There are other things that make you sit back in surprise that this is indeed community theater: the lighting design by Tiff Crutchfield is sharp and the use of the haze system to make the light beams pop at the beginning of Act II something you rarely see at the amateur level; the sound design by Bob Skon is exceptional. The set dressings and props by Brenda Casher and Martha Montoye are spot-on. Stephanie Buck and Heather Wing supply beautiful wigs and hairstyles; and Rachel Francisco’s choreography is fun and character-driven.
But that brings me back to Kathy Waugh. Go see this show.
GREY GARDENS continues at the Arthur Miller Theater on North Campus through Sunday March 11th. Tickets are available at a2ct.org. As with all shows at the Arthur Miller, let this serve as warning: parking is not plentiful and there is a parking charge. Get there early, as seating is general admission, but mostly because parking is not sufficient and you might have a long walk to the theater from elsewhere on North Campus if the lot is full by the time you arrive.
Tags: hilarious play, John Neville-Andrews, Noises Off, UM Noises Off, University of Michigan Theatre and Drama
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Okay, so its not the first time you have probably seen Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off” in Ann Arbor (it makes regular appearances on our various stages)– but its by far the best production you’ll see, thanks to John Neville-Andrews hilarious staging currently on-stage at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, presented by the University of Michigan, Department of Theatre and Drama.
Comprised of student performers, and guest performer Equity actress Naz Edwards, the farce flies by in what seems much shorter time than it’s 2 hour 40 minute running time might otherwise suggest. In three acts, the first sets the stage at the final rehearsal of a British farce “Nothing On” pre-tour (in the best insider joke in the show, the actors don’t know if it’s a dress rehearsal or a tech rehearsal); the second Act takes place during a performance a week into the run from the vantage point of backstage as personal relationships begin to unravel and the sight gags start to fly fast and furious; and Act Three seven weeks into the tour, from the audience vantage point, as the show has started to unravel. It’s tremendous fun and this is a five-star production.
Naz Edwards turns in a pitch perfect Dotty Otley, preparing plates of sardines and forgetting blocking for important props (like the phone). Reed Campbell plays overwrought director Lloyd Dallas, and his meltdowns are a joy to behold. Philip Maxwell and Sophie Hindley play Garry and Brooke, the couple around which the pending sex-farce revolves. Maxwell’s physical comedy is grand, and exchange student Hindley is simply marvelous in (and out) of clothing, She is the funniest Brooke I have ever seen play the part, and every single blocking motion is wrong. What makes it even funnier, is that when things are falling apart 7 weeks into the tour, her blocking remains identical to that at final dress. Shannon Eagen plays peppy “Poppy” with a sense of self-knowingness; and Casey Hanley brings a warmth and hilarity to trouser-dropping Frederick. A pants-dropped hop up the long staircase earns well-deserved applause. The same voyage down those same steps later by Maxwell tripping over a misplaced box earns him the “Dick Van Dyke” physical comedy award for this production. Stage manager and Assistant stage manager are played well by Zoe Kanters and Eric Krawczyk, and old-man Selsdon is well-acted by Avery DiUbaldo (never an easy feat for a young student to play an aging character on stage — carried off here with great skill.)
John Neville-Andrews keeps the action moving swiftly. This is a very difficult show to direct and this production is a Neville-Andrews masterwork of slamming doors, perfectly timed sight-gags, and some brilliant personal touches. He does a particularly good job with the women in this production, never allowing them to disappear into the background which can happen with this show. Those who have never seen the show before (hard to imagine in Ann Arbor, but obviously the case from some of the blank reactions of the senior older folks sitting around me) might need a second viewing to take it all in. Gary Decker’s set is terrific (and the backstage view marvelous). Katelyn Rouse’s costumes look great, and Andrew Lott’s lighting design looks clean and crisp both onstage, backstage, and offstage – in particular when the set revolves and the occasional glimpses of the show “onstage” shine through the central window from “backstage” without ever losing focus on the action backstage.
Finally — do not bypass the program insert — a hilarious spoof of the program for “Nothing On”. There, you will learn that “Cinemagoers saw Brooke in The Girl in Room 14, where she played the Girl in Room 312″, and that Selsdon had “several good supporting roles in Hollywood, including stand-in to Robert Newton”. Hilarious stuff that — and the funniest evening I have had at any theater in years.
Ain’t no doubtin’ you’ll have a good time at Performance Network this holiday season – Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Review) November 19, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Entertainment, musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
Tags: Ain't Misbehavin' musical
Performance Network has brought Ann Arbor an early Christmas present with their current production of Ain’t Misbehavin’, the Fats Waller musical show.
Winner of the 1978 Tony Award for Best Musical, (it surprisingly beat out On the Twentieth Century, not surprisingly The Act, Dancin’ and Runaways), the show revived musical reviews, and while it has no direct storyline, it follows a group of singers/performers in an after hours club as they sing, complain, flirt, booze it up, and generally have a fun time. The idea is, the audience should have a fun time as well. And they do.
Dan Walker’s excellent set invokes a basement-level nightclub, with band center stage, and some audience seated at cabaret tables on the sides (Note: I would recommend you NOT select the side seats for this production – virtually all action takes place facing front and center).
Darrian Ford, Jennifer Cole, Kron Moore, james Bown, and K. Edmonds comprise the 5-member cast, while Ryan MacKenzie Lewis and his four-piece ensemble can arguably be considered the sixth member (Ryan – piano; Brad Faryniarz – saxaphones; Chris Morelli – bass; Billy Harrington – drums). The entire ensemble swings; there is more energy on stage here than might be needed to light the Christmas lights on Main Street for the holidays.
Yeah, okay, so I can note some minor quibbles about the slightly pitchy vocals on opening night (especially in Act One); but all was well by Act Two (which is better written to begin with). It doesn’t really matter in a show which is well sung, well directed (by Tim Edward Rhoze), and well-choreographed (Robin Wilson). The hand-built costumes by Suzanne Young are exquisite. Charles Sutherland’s properties help evoke the era; and Mary Cole lights it all prettily, with red, green, and blue gels coming to life in the bigger numbers.
Each of the performers has plenty of opportunity to shine in solos, duets, and ensemble numbers; but its Darrian Ford that explodes across the stage, in particular making “The Viper’s Drag” a standout, as well as his dancing throughout. To be honest, it’s hard to recreate roles so tied to the likes of the larger-than-life Ken Page, Nell Carter, and Andre DeShields…but this cast holds its own in what is ultimately a highly entertaining holiday treat. Fats Wallers music is tuneful, sharp-witted, and often funny.
To be sure, I would rather have seen a book musical in this holiday slot — but Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a sure-footed entertaining evening. It’s the perfect compliment to dinner and drinks before the show in downtown Ann Arbor, so you can make a night (or afternoon) of it. Ask about the Prix Fixe dinner option at The Raven’s Club when making your reservations. Ain’t no doubtin’ you will have a good time.
Simply put, “The Light in the Piazza” at Encore is their best production to date (Review) September 8, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Broadway Musicals, Entertainment, musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
Tags: Adam Guettel, Encore Musical Theatre Company, The Light in the Piazza musical
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Take a superior score and script; add Encore’s strongest singing cast ever; stir in a new sound system and some terrific direction, and you have, quite simply, Encore Musical Theatre Company’s best production to date with “The Light in the Piazza”.
I have to disclose that I am partial to this show to begin with: many friends worked on the Broadway production both on the creative team and on stage. I saw it at the Vivian Beaumont a half a dozen times during it’s run. That being said, this cast is as strong as any I have seen in the show.
The production is Directed by Steve DeBruyne, Music Directed by Brian E. Buckner, Costumes are designed by Sharon Larkey Urick, Sets by Toni Auletti and Lighting by Matthew Tomich. I mention their names up front because it is their work that frames this sparkling production.
The action, played out on a sparse but lovely set, allows the actors to truly shine. And you have never heard a cast like this on the Encore stage. The very difficult score leans heavily toward legit voices (you know, opera voices for those of you not in the biz), and they sound fantastic on the new sound system that mixes the orchestra with the vocals.
I don’t want to give away too much of the storyline for those who don’t know. Suffice it to say it involves a mother (Barbara Scanlon) and her daughter (Stephanie Souza) who travel to Florence in 1953 and where the daughter finds love with a young Italian man (Brian L. Giebler). The will-they-or-wont-they romance plays out in a storyline that heaps levels of surprise and emotion in a deeply layered script that unfolds slowly over the course of the musical and leaves the audience as breathless as the cast by the end of the show.
Barbara Scanlon turns in a mesmerizing performance as Margaret Johnson, and Stephanie Souza plays her daughter Clara with aplomb. Brian Giebler as Fabrizio has a wonderful voice and stage presence to hold his own in a cast in which one cast member delightfully outshines the other throughout the evening. Scott Crownover plays a commanding Signor Naccarelli with Marlene Inman-Reilly turning on the vocal dazzlement as his wife. Sebastian Gerstner and Angela Kay Miller humorously play off of each other as the elder son and his wife. All smaller parts are played by an ensemble that includes Curt Waugh, Gil Bazil, Anne Bauman, Natalie Burdick, Lauren Conley, and Elliott Styles.
The vocal work here is dazzling — notes are hit and resound in the theater space which is superb for this type of show. The tone is exquisite — nothing is sharp, nothing is undertone…everything is right where it needs to be. The very difficult score includes large portions sung in Italian, often in counterpoint to English, and at times instantly alternating between the two. Adam Guettel’s lush score mixes contemporary romantic melodies with more adventuresome musical styles. This is a very difficult score and it is handled here expertly.
The requisite tears come — are they tears of sorrow? Or joy? Do you cry at a wedding? Or does something occur to throw it all out of balance. You’ll have to go see it for yourself, because it all plays out as well as any suspense story you’ve seen. From the romance of a hat blown through the air across a piazza, to the touching moments of a mother learning to come to terms with her own grief — it’s all there.
By all means see this. It is the best production Encore has done to date, and you will kick yourself if you don’t get a chance to experience it. Buy tickets for your parents. Send a pair to your grandparents. Take your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend. Go see it. I am personally getting tickets to see it again. I loved this production.
The Light in the Piazza continues through October 2nd. Tickets are available at the theater box office (3126 Broad Street, Dexter, MI) by calling (734) 268-6200, or online at http://www.theencoretheatre.org
Outstanding “The Last 5 Years” at Encore (Review) May 27, 2011Posted by ronannarbor in Ann Arbor, Entertainment, musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
Tags: Dexter, Encore Musical Theatre Company, Jason Robert Brown, MI, Steve DeBruyne, Thalia Schramm, The Last 5 Years
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Steve DeBruyne (Jamie) and Thalia Schramm (Cathy) turn in two excellent performances in Encore’s current offering, Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last 5 Years”. These two performers sing-through 75 minutes of intermission-less ballads, pop songs, and story songs to tell the tale of a 5-year relationship; her tale beginning at story’s end and working backwards, his starting at the beginning and working towards its end. They meet only once, at the middle of the story during their wedding.
With a simple, effective, and very clever set design (Steven V. Rice), the audience is seated on two sides of the black box theater space, and it works very well for this production. Steven must also be mentioned for his outstanding lighting design — possible the best I have seen in an Encore production.
The orchestra, under the nimble direction of Brian E. Buckner sounds terrific — Brian also plays keyboard, joined by Fran Wakefield on Violin, and Alex Massingill on bass. Director Daniel Cooney keeps the action flowing quickly from scene to scene (assisted by Carrie Jay Sayer, and co-directed by Steve DeBruyne). Thalia Schramm’s costume design is simple and efficient, and works just right for the many scenes and the passage of time.
I particularly enjoyed Steve’s story-song “The Schmuel Song” and Thalia’s “A Summer in Ohio” — which contains the funniest lyric in the show, about the “summer in Ohio with a gay midget named Karl playing Tevye and Porgy”. Those unfamiliar with Jason Robert Brown’s superb score will find that it is beautifully presented here, and it’s so good that you will want to see the show a second time to admire the expert musical craftsmanship at play in this work.
In short, I loved this production. I loved the performances. And I loved that Encore continues to provide some of the better current musical theater pieces available in the modern repertoire. More of this! Less of Annie!
Go see it. Highly recommended.
The Last 5 Years continues at The Encore Musical Theatre Company through June 5th — 3126 Broad Street, Dexter, MI — 734-268-6200 — http://www.theencoretheatre.org