BWW Previews: CRAZY FOR YOU at Candlelight Music Theatre
It is always sensational news when we hear Dann Dunn is returning to Candlelight to direct and choreograph. Coming off a most recent and successful WSS at Media Theatre, Dunn opens with Gershwin's CRAZY FOR YOU on May 13th at the newly renovated Arden barn. The existing show was adapted from the original Gershwin show, GIRL CRAZY.
It memory serves, CRAZY has never been staged in Candlelight's 48 years. Gershwin, born in 1898, was a musical genius. Never graduating from high school, he began his career as a 15-year-old song 'plugger' in Tin Pan Alley. 4 years later he wrote "Swanee" which of course became a standard for Al Jolson. He was the only composer EVER to write popular standards for symphony: "Rhapsody In Blue", "American In Paris"; opera, "Porgy & Bess" and Broadway (that list is too long chronicle). He died of an undiagnosed brain tumor at the age of 38. All these achievements in this short span of life.
In CRAZY, the audience will be treated to "I Got Rhythm", "Embraceable You", "Someone To Watch Over Me" and "They Can't Take That Away From Me". (These tunes and many of his and brother Ira's are interpolated in so many Gershwin shows it is difficult to keep count). Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney starred in the first motion picture in 1943.
A reason that more of Gershwin's Broadway shows are not staged is due to their incredibly sophomoric books, topical ONLY for the time of their writing. Even 10 years later the plots seemed quaint and outdated. Audiences were rolling their eyes. (STRIKE UP THE BAND and OF THEE I SING come to mind. You've never heard of them but they had great tunes as well).
Luckily for us, CRAZY FOR YOU has a reasonable plot that only borders on the semi-ridiculous. Don't attend this show to 'become a better person' or 'perceive some deeper meaning'. Attend if you want to be entertained. It is set in Custerville AZ decades and decades ago. Younger son turns the ol' ranch into a dude ranch, importing dancing showgirls (how convenient!) You will see the chorines and a passel of cowboys.
Dunn's signature is phenomenal choreography. Fasten your seat belt, or in this case, your saddle. His direction and choreo at Candlelight in last season's HAIRSPRAY and LEGALLY BLOND was so creative, so kinetic, so captivating.
Dunn has a regional following of 'theatre people' who love to work with him. Aisle Say counted about half the cast of HAIRSPRAY was new for Candlelight. There are some new faces in CRAZY. Yet the cast comprises some veteran favorites as well: Kaylen Wetzel, Anthony Connell, Barry Gomolka, Max Redman, Topher Layton, Susan Dewey and Erin Waldie. Lindsay Mauck is Musical Director and Costumers are Timm Cannon and Tara Bowers.
Candlelight's legion of followers are comforted that the short-lived experiment with potatoes OTHER than their Aisle Say-critically acclaimed mashed potatoes is now a mere asterisk in their sumptuous buffet history.
May 13 - June 25 Candlelighttheatredelaware.com 302.475.2313