BWW Review: HIT HER WITH THE SKATES at Hamilton Stage is an Exciting New Musical
The new musical, Hit Her with the Skates, is thrilling audiences from the first minute to the last. It is everything a musical should be with a fascinating story, inventive staging, an excellent score, and a top-notch cast. This show is having its pre-New York developmental production at Hamilton Stage (UCPAC, Rahway) through Sunday May 26th. The book and lyrics are by Christine Rea; music and lyrics by Rick Briskin; directed by Michael Schiralli; musical direction by Brandon Ethridge; and choreography by Gina Ventura. Get your tickets now for this rock and roller-skating good time.
Hit Her With The Skates is set in 1994 when Jacqueline Miller, a mega music star returns home to Chicago for a concert at the grand reopening of Windy City Skates, a place that holds a lot of memories. As the difficulties of stardom and relationships become overwhelming, Jacqueline is confronted by her 12-year-old self and relives many of her youthful experiences including those at the rink in 1977. Jacqueline's journey is full of humor, wisdom, and heart as she recalls her past and looks to the future.
The cast of Hit Her with the Skates charms. Jacqueline Miller is played by Kristin Piacentile, and young Jackie Miller is played by Amy Toporek. The other cast members play multiple parts to develop the story. They include: John Treacy Egan as Brad Miller/others; Kelsey Statler as Megan Behnke/others; Heather Patterson King as Rebecca Miller/others; Madeline Fansler as Tonya Carson/others; Andy Savage as Scotty Watkins/others; Kyle Jurassic as Blake Conrad/others; Matthew Schatz as Brad Miller/others; and Chris Walker Jack/others. There's a host of vibrant characters and the company slips seamlessly into their different roles.
The score for Hit Her With The Skates is pure magic. Original rock and roll tunes and moving love songs are wonderfully performed highlighted by clever choreographies. Outstanding numbers include the opening number, "Lovin' The Life I Live" by Jacqueline & Band; "Why Can't I Be Her" by Jackie; "Shazizzle Shuhpop" by Tonya & Brad; "The Ouija Song" by Meghan & Jackie; "Someday" by Dad & Mom and the final number, "Reprise Crushin" by the entire company.
The creative team has brought Hit Her With the Skates to life on the Rahway stage with lighting design by Nathan Avakian; costume design by Lindsay McWilliams; set design by Josh Iacovelli; sound design by Bruce Yauger; wig design by Dee Spencer.
The Production Stage Manager is Ayisha Hunt; Assistant Stage Manager, Emily DeNardo; Company Manager, Sofia Cabrales; Press Representative, JT Public Relations; Marketing and Advertising, Red Rising. The Casting Director is Bob Cline and the General Manager is Lisa Dozier King.
Hit Her With the Skates is a universally appealing show that will go far. New Jersey audiences are certainly fortunate to have the opportunity to experience it.
Hit Her with The Skates will be performed at Hamilton Stage in Rahway through Sunday, May 27th. The performance Schedule is Thursday at 8pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2pM. Hamilton Stage (UCPAC, Rahway, NJ) is located at 370 Hamilton St, Rahway, NJ 07065. The theater is a short walk from Rahway's NJ Transit Station and it also has generous parking available. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.hhwts.com.
Photo Credit: Russ Rowland