BWW Review: WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE Delights Audiences at Winter Park Playhouse
"Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" takes us back to the year 1966 to our protagonist, Millie's impromptu bachelorette party thrown by her friends Sally, Florence, and Dee Dee (who tags along, but is quickly adopted into the friend group). The evening kicks off with alcohol, gossip, alcohol, junk food, and oh, did I mention? More alcohol. Trouble begins to arise in paradise when Sally reveals that she sent Millie an anonymous note with some troubling news regarding her fiancé. Hilarity, arguing, and lots and lots of singing ensue, and we are left with a strong impression of the "sisters before misters" mantra. That is, guys will come and go, but best friends last forever.
Though the plot is somewhat thin and simplistic, this jukebox musical does in fact entertain - featuring more than twenty songs from the hit girl groups of the 60's. The solid cast comprised of Heather Kopp (Millie), Allyssa Yost (Sally), Noel-Marie Matson (Florence), and Molly Jackson (Dee Dee), are just as strong as an ensemble as they are individually - able to flip from tight harmonies in the background to belting with the best of them. Each cast member brings a different yet crucial energy to the eccentric show. Molly Jackson delights with her exuberant energy and bubbly dialogue, which is impressively present, yet controlled during her solo numbers. Noel-Marie Matson brings down the house several times with her brassy belt and her unparalleled comedic timing. Especially noteworthy is Heather Kopp's voice. Her incredible mix/belt hybrid brings new depth and emotion to these dated tunes. In fact, I caught myself tearing up at her rendition of "Hurt so Bad." The most consistently impressive performance belongs to Allyssa Yost as Sally. As the token 'bad girl' of the group, Yost plays Sally as genuine and justified. Her acting chops and voice make even campy, sixties-era dialogue sound conversational and natural. Yost's most successful component of her performance is her natural ability to command a stage. She is captivating even in the background of certain musical numbers.
The best part of "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" to me, is surprisingly not the comedy or the musical numbers, but rather the subtle message. To quote Roy Alan in the program's 'Letter From the Director,' "The 60's were all about discovery. Who we were - where we were going - relationships. It was a time when women grew to understand that they could be strong and equal to a man." If you need a brief recess from the insanity in our society right now, you don't have to be of the baby boomer generation (though it may offer a degree of nostalgia other generations won't know) to enjoy this fun, playful, light-hearted production.
What: Roger Bean's jukebox musical "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?" at Winter Park Playhouse.
Length: 2 hours including intermission and curtain speech.
Where: 711 N Orange Ave # C, Winter Park, FL 32789
When: January 20 - February 18, 2017; Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2 p.m. and select Wednesday, Friday and Sunday matinees at 2p.m. Specially-priced performances include "Third Thursday" on February 2 at 7:30p.m (matinee price for an evening performance).
Cost: Ticket prices are $40 evenings, $36 senior evenings, $30 matinees, $30 "Third Thursday" evening, $20 preview, $15 student and theatrical industry professionals. Student rush "$10@10" offers $10 tickets (for students 25 years and younger) 10 minutes prior to a performance when seats are available.
The Winter Park Playhouse is a registered 501(c)(3), non-profit charitable organization and proudly affiliated with Actors' Equity Association and The National Alliance for Musical Theatre.
Production photo by Michael Cairns - photography.