BWW Review: IRVING BERLIN'S I LOVE A PIANO at Gretna Theatre
If an old, dusty piano could talk, what would it say? What stories would it tell you? In Irving Berlin's I Love A Piano at Gretna Theatre, you get to find out for yourself! Part musical, part revue, this show celebrates the vast musical career of Irving Berlin. Irving, who lived from 1888 to 1989, is one of the most well-known American songwriters in history. You would have to be living under a rock where music doesn't exist to have not heard one of his estimated 1,500 songs at some point in your life. Everyone knows his classics like "White Christmas", "Puttin' On The Ritz", and "There's No Business Like Show Business". This show is overflowing with a whopping 60 of these timeless masterpieces. Add some dazzling choreography and a plot that is super easy to follow, and you've got a lovely afternoon of theatre that promises a toe-tapping good time.
Gretna Theatre is a gorgeous pavilion style outdoor theatre that only operates during the summer months. There were thunderstorms during our show, and it only added to the beauty of the atmosphere. I do recommend taking long sleeves of some sort despite it being summer, as it can get quite chilly very quickly (especially at night). Even with the added challenge of the show being outdoors, the lighting (designed by Shon Causer) was very nicely done. Pianists Billy Thompson and Steffan Bomberger did a stellar job keeping the live piano music fresh and in tune with the action onstage.
I felt very much like I was watching a show designed for an amusement park (reminding me greatly of the shows I used to watch at Hersheypark as a child) which, for me, was neat. The performers did a lovely job with their roles. I really enjoyed the choreography, created by Ellie Mooney. It definitely matched each era that the story took us through and blended seamlessly with the music, not to mention it being a lot of fun to watch. Andrea McCormick and Char Wilson did just as beautifully designing the costumes, matching her eye-catching designs perfectly to 100 years of changing styles. My only real disappointment with the show was that the crew was not properly acknowledged during the curtain call. As someone who spends a lot of time working behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly for the performers, it bothers me greatly when nothing is done to actively recognize all of the crew's hard work and dedication to the project during those final bows.
I highly recommend taking some time out of your busy schedule to relax with this show and the outdoor beauty that Mount Gretna has to offer. But you'll need to hurry, because this production has just three more performances through June 16th. Visit www.gretnatheatre.org to grab your tickets now and take your favorite "Snooky Ookums" out for a gorgeous afternoon or evening of theatre under "Blue Skies".