BWW Reviews: BLAST! Blows The Roof Off The McCallum Theatre

March 21
5:52 PM 2012


Last weekend's 75 mile per hour winds may have left the roof of The McCallum Theatre intact, but the electrifying production of BLAST! just might do the trick! The sheer energy of this Tony-Award (2001 Tony Award For "Best Special Theatrical Event) and Emmy-Award (2001 Emmy Award For "Best Choreography" For A Prime Time Show) winning musical spectacular is difficult to put into words – even for a man who makes his living putting things into words. Let me start by saying, if you have plans you can change -- run over to the McCallum Theatre and snatch up the few remaining seats for this limited engagement. It is sure to be one of the most exciting evenings you will spend in the theatre. Guaranteed!

BLAST! is a banquet for all of the senses. It is almost a visual and aural overload – a non-stop two-plus hour thrill ride that keeps topping itself in each subsequent production number. (And non-stop is not just an adjective. The company entertains in the lobby through the 20 minute intermission and provides after-show entertainment, again in the lobby, as the audience reluctantly exits the theatre. No one wants the party to end.) BLAST! proves out so many clichés – like "sitting on The Edge of your seat". Looking around the theatre I witnessed row after row of enthusiastic patrons literally perched at The Edge of their seats soaking up the outstanding talents and youthful exuberance of this multi-talented ensemble. It is part dance concert (a combination of the grace of ballet, the athleticism of a drill team and the storytelling of modern dance) – and part half time show! It is all spectacle. The drum line (upon which this whole premise was founded back in 1984) is noting short of breathtaking. The show is so fluid and seamless that, at times, catching your breath is a feat unto itself.

In a show full of surprises and all the production values of a blockbuster Broadway show, there are a few stand-out moments. Snare drum soloists Lance Kendl and Brad Bloomfield perform a duel on their drums that is as comedic as it is mesmerizing. Courtlan Cochran's trumpet solo in "Everybody Loves The Blues" nearly stopped the show. But I think the real star of the show is Charlie Morrison's incredible lighting which becomes a character itself an not only supports every number, but expertly enhances them. BLAST! received an instantaneous standing ovation that lasted through – count them – six curtain calls. It has been said that this production "blasts" similar shows like STOMP and RIVERDANCE right out of the water – and I wouldn't argue the point. I went to the theatre a bit reluctantly --- I left a fan of this talented and engaging troupe of multi-faceted, multi-talented singers, dancers and musicians. I have only said this a couple of times this season – but, RUN – DON'T WALK to the McCallum Theatre to see BLAST! before they leave town!

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David Green David Green is the Executive Director of The American Foundation For Arts Education, founded by Carol Channing and her late husband, Harry Kullijian -- working to restore the Arts to our nation’s public schools and provide an arts education to every child in America. He is the founder and President of the nationally acclaimed "Musical Theatre University", a training ground for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, most specifically musical theatre. Mr. Green's Broadway alumni include Tony -nominees Matthew Morrison and Stephanie Block, Drama Desk nominee Lindsay Mendez, Krysta Rodriguez, Scott Barnhardt and Anneliese VanDerPol to name a few. As a producer and director, he has staged over 150 theatrical productions for both educational and professional theatre and with such stars as Carol Channing, Cathy Rigby, JoAnne Worley, Rex Smith, Jonelle Allen, Eric Kunze, Davis Gaines, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Raitt, Betty Garrett and more. Mr. Green is the Regional Editor and Reviewer for the Inland Empire of Southern California.


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