BWW Reviews: Cherry Creek Theatre Presents Solid Performances in BABY the MUSICAL

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A heartwarming musical about nature's miracle told from three different generations, Cherry Creek Theatre presents a forgotten Broadway treasure; BABY! the MUSICAL (book by Sybille Pearson, music by David Shire with lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr.) playing now through June 23rd. Three couples, each newly expecting a child, have different but familiar reactions. Lizzie and Danny are university juniors who have just moved in together. Athletic Pam and her husband, Nick, a sports instructor, have had some trouble conceiving. Arlene, already the mother of three grown daughters, is unsure of what to do, contemplating abortion while her husband Alan is thrilled with the thought of a new baby. Throughout the show, these characters experience the emotional stresses and triumphs, the desperate lows and the comic highs, that accompany the anticipation and arrival of a baby.

Cherry Creek Theatre, now in its third year has a gem on their hands with this obscure musical from the 80's. BABY, the MUSICAL had a short stint on Broadway (only two months) and gained notoriety after being nominated for seven Tony Awards including Best Musical. Unfortunately it was shut out of winning by a little show called La Cage aux Folles. Even with the shows brief encounter with Broadway, it's heartfelt story keeps it coming back into the spotlight. Honestly I can see why this show didn't have staying power. For as good and tender as this script is, it truly speaks to a specific audience (mothers and women) and may not be for everyone. This show felt like it belonged on Lifetime - Television for Women (which I actually found out has already been optioned for that network). Like the production, the performance space was also unique - in an upscale rug store in the heart of the shopping district of Cherry Creek. I also appreciated the local support from neighboring businesses giving this theatre a great sense of community. I do have to mention that I think they missed a golden opportunity in scheduling with Mother's Day being last month. It was a great start with We Start Today and exuberantly brought everyone into the stories. The Plaza Song and The Ladies Singing Their Song were absolutely hilarious the women totally nailed I Want It All. I know that this show spoke to every women in the audience.

First, I must say that these couple were paired properly and played so well off each other to deliver funny and emotional performances. I am always in awe when I get the chance to experience Megan Van de Hey onstage. Her grasp of her characters is truly master class and not only does she give an exceptional performance every time, but she completely embodies these diverse roles. She brought a wide range of comedy and tragedy to the role of Arlene and her interpretation of Patterns was mesmerizing. Brian Walker Smith as her husband, Alan was also excellent and the two of them played so well off each other (I loved their tender song, What If We Had Loved Like That). I will be looking for this talented actor in future productions. Scott Severtson brought a touching and heartfelt performance to the role of the determined Nick. He and his wife, Pam (wonderfully played by Shannan Steele) had amazing chemistry and I loved their performances of Romance and With You. Drew Hirshboeck as the new young father, Danny was good, but I would have liked to have seen more range from his character. Even with that, he did a great job with his song, I Chose Right (although I must point out that if you are going to mime playing a guitar and know your fingering, then just play it). I was truly impressed with Emily Ann Luhrs as the newly expecting mother, Lizzie. She had an amazing singing voice and drew the audience with her emotional performance especially with The Story Goes On. Scene-stealer Ben Dicke was having fun in his varied roles and made each minor character hilarious and memorable.

Director Pat Payne brought together some great talent for this show and their chemistry as couples was spot on and kept the production flowing without being bogged down in the subplots or melodrama. He really showed a tender insight into this touching show and brought new life into this show. Rob Lowe as music director was impressive and talented and made the two keyboards work for him making it sound like an entire symphony hiding amongst the rugs. Choreographer Piper Lindsay Arpan was thoughtful in her movements and kept the energy high even in this little space. Production designer Richard H. Pegg's simplicity was key to making this set effective with one main platform with a bed and four larger than life building blocks. I was truly amazed at the transformation of this store into a functional theater.

This heartwarming story with solid performances gives an inspired rebirth to this forgotten piece of Broadway history and should not be missed! Cherry Creek Theatre proudly presents BABY, the MUSICAL touching audiences now through June 23rd at the Shaver-Ramsey Showroom, 2414 East 3rd Ave in Cherry Creek, CO. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m. For tickets or more information, contact the box office at 303-800-6578 or online at www.cherrycreektheatre.org.

PHOTO CREDIT: DenverMind Media


Emily Ann Luhrs, Megan Van de Hey, Shannan Steele (front)


Brian Walker Smith and Megan Van de Hey


Shannan Steele and Scott Severtson


Emily Ann Luhrs and Andrew Hirsh Boeck


Emily Ann Luhrs, Megan Van de Hey, Shannan Steele


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