BWW Review: Syracuse University Department of Drama's CRAZY FOR YOU is a Toe-Tappin' Good Time at Syracuse Stage
Crazy For You is one of those musical comedies that helps the audience escape reality. You immediately become absorbed in the hysterical and uplifting score by the renowned George and Ira Gershwin, Ken Ludwig's timeless love story, and, of course, stellar dancing. The Syracuse University production of this Tony Award-winning musical, now playing in the Syracuse Stage Drama Complex, is no exception. Director and Choreographer Brian J. Marcum has brought a passionate and talented cast together to create a toe-tappin' production of this audience favorite.
Bobby Child (Crawford Horton) is a young man living in glitzy New York City. This aspiring dancer really wants to get his foot in the door so he tries to impress the renowned producer Bela Zangler (Matthew Steriti). His dance audition for Mr. Zangler ends with a big finale, but there's a problem. Bobby accidently stomps his tap dancing foot right onto Zangler's foot. In an attempt to escape his problems in New York City, including a controlling "fiancé" named Irene (Zofia Weretka), Bobby Listens to his overbearing mother Lottie (Leslie Noble) and goes to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose on a theatre. While in Deadrock, Bobby falls in love with Polly Baker (Brooke Solan) - the daughter of Everett Baker (Kevin Shumway), the theatre owner. After Polly finds out Bobby is from the bank, Bobby stops at nothing to save the theatre and to win back his true love.
The musical won the Tony Award for Best Choreography and the dancing in this production does not disappoint. Brian J. Marcum has cleverly brought Susan Stroman's choreography to life while still showcasing his own flair. The dance numbers uses two six-person choruses of Follies Girls and Cowboys to round out the Syracuse University Drama's dancing cast of more than twenty. The student cast performs the intricate and difficult choreography with such passion and energy that the young performers leave the room wanting more.
The choreography utilizes every inch of the set wonderfully designed by Emma Antenen. It features an upper level and the live orchestra, directed by Brian Cimmet, sits on each side. There are stairs leading down to a wide-open space below that gives plenty of room for dancing. The set effortlessly transforms into the various settings including Zangler's theatre in New York City, the Deadrock theatre, and the town of Deadrock.
The costumes by Kristin Isola capture the time period, the music, and the characters perfectly. The glamorous costumes, including a dress that transforms on stage, definitely catapults the show to a professional level design-wise. The lighting by Andrew LiDestri brilliantly showcases the dazzling costumes.
The entire cast is energetic, fresh, hardworking, and - as mentioned previously - showcases some serious dance moves. Crawford Horton, as Bobby Child, captures the passion, ambition, and energy of Bobby in is his dancing, superb comedic line delivery, stellar vocals, and chemistry with his fellow actors. He's mesmerizing in such numbers as "K-RA-ZY For You," "I Can't Be Bothered Now," "Things Are Looking Up," "Shall We Dance," "They Can't Take That Away From Me," and "Nice Work If You Can Get It."
Brooke Solan portrays Polly Baker, the tough, yet sweet girl next door from Deadrock, perfectly. Her vocals are scene-stealing and her dramatic voice is ideal for the Gershwin brothers' music. Her shining moment is her rendition of "Someone to Watch Over Me." The power and passion in her voice reminds me of Sutton Foster.
Matthew Steriti is the perfect character actor for the role of Bela Zangler. Along with Crawford Horton, he provides a highly hilarious take on "What Causes That." The two actors move perfectly together.
Zofia Weretka has killer glares, major attitude, impeccable dance moves, and the confidence to pull off the role of haughty Irena. Weretka shows off her high kicks and confident Broadway belt in the number "Naughty Baby." Weretka proves that she stands out on stage; she is truly memorable.
Other standouts in the show include Leslie Noble as Lottie, Bobby Child's overbearing mother; her line delivery is spot on. Jack Fortin as Lank, the owner of the Saloon and hotel, steals each scene that he is in with his eccentric hair and comedic timing. Kevin Shumway, as Everett, sings a wonderful rendition of "Reprise: Things Are Looking Up." Myles Justise Hayward as Eugene Fodor and Adriana Schaps as Patricia Fodor deliver entertaining performances in "Stiff Upper Lip." Olivia Barbieri as Patsy, Madison Beumee as Tess, and Markcus Blair as Moose all have their standout moments as well.
The entire ensemble makes this production a must-see. The big dance numbers perfectly showcase the incredible talents of these hardworking and professional students from Syracuse University's Department of Drama. The entire cast brings down the house every moment they dance together on stage, especially in "I Got Rhythm."
You will go crazy for the marvelous dancing and singing in Crazy For You at the Storch Theatre in the Syracuse Stage Drama Complex. Crazy For You does what theatre is supposed to do - it provides an escape from any troubles you might be facing. It is a highly memorable and toe-tappin' production. It's enjoyable for all and my four year old daughter loved it!!
Running time: Approximately two hours and forty minutes with one fifteen-minute intermission.
Crazy For You runs through October 15, 2017 at the Storch Theatre in the Syracuse Stage /SU Drama Complex. For tickets and information on the production call 315.443.3275 or click here.