BWW Reviews: I LOVE A PIANO Plays a Pleasant Tune at Crown Uptown Theatre
There's No Business Like Show Business
"I Love A Piano" opened tonight at Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre. A legendary Berlin score, talented performers and delicious fare made a fun evening, despite a few opening night hiccups.
Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee
Executive Chef Kevin Gillenwater prepared an extravaganza. The soup, a creamy tomato and roasted garlic bisque, was delectable. The meal options (blackened Mahi Mahi with a cucumber melon sauce, grilled chicken Diane with mushroom Cognac sauce, or sweet chili glazed pork tenderloin with grilled pineapple) were served with roasted spring vegetables and mashed potatoes. Each had a delicate balance of flavors, and the chicken was especially tender. The three desserts were extravagant, but I recommend the strawberry shortcake parfait. Perfect for a lovely spring evening. Unfortunately, there were no specialty drinks for this production as of press time.
Puttin' On the Ritz
"I Love A Piano", directed by Matthew Rumsey, is a musical revue from Irving Berlin's classic cannon like "White Christmas," "God Bless America" and "Annie Get Your Gun". "I Love A Piano" possesses the inevitable script problems that accompany a jukebox musical. The plot is very thin- it follows a piano through several decades and owners, but has very little depth. Regardless, Rumsey made it interesting through creative staging.
Let Me Sing and I'm Happy
Austin Stang, who plays Jim, is a solid performer. He is a true triple threat and consistently delivers. The ladies of the company had a particularly powerful moment with the tight harmonies of "Let Yourself Go" under the musical direction of Jesse Warkentin. Janet Wiggins, as Eileen, was adorable. A starlet with range and charm. I look forward to her next role. There were a few sour notes and flubbed lyrics sprinkled throughout the show, but with the high level of professionalism and quality the patrons have come to expect from the Crown, I'm sure the mistakes will be mended by the next curtain.
The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing
As usual, Maurice Sims created colorful choreography to take the audience on their journey. As the script demands, he used styles from several decades to designate passage of time, develop character and build energy. "Puttin' On the Ritz" alone was worth the ticket price. It was one of those rare classic music theatre moments that make you catch your breath. "Pack Up Your Sins," sang by Ben Cramer as George, had a RENT "Out Tonight" quality.
They Say It's Wonderful
"I Love A Piano"will run Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through April 18th. Shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (dinner served 5-7:15 p.m.) and 2 p.m. Sunday (doors open at 12:30, appetizers and desserts available for purchase). Crown Uptown Theatre is located at 3207 E. Douglas. Tickets range from $25 to $60. Call 316-612-7696 for more information or visit www.crownuptown.com/tickets