Review: The Goodspeed's GYPSY is a Real Good Time!

On Friday, December 13, I had the pleasure of seeing JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT spectacularly performed at the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport, CT. Marking the fiftieth anniversary of this very first musical collaboration between songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Tim Rice, this show remains entertaining to audiences across multiple generations. Under the direction of Andrea Pane and choreography of Cassie Caroll, this stellar cast delivers a phenomenal performance! The cast includes some of my favorite familiar local talent, such as Robert Peterpaul, Andrea Pane, Everton Ricketts, and Cassie Caroll. This show has now also introduced me to the amazing talent of Desi Amato, who shines as the best narrator I have ever seen in this show.

Effective use of projection screens and lighting, combined with a strong six piece band led by musical director Thomas Conroy contribute to the success of this musical that is fueled by constant music that effectively tells the story, without the need for dialogue interwoven between songs. An effective costuming choice that I have not seen used before is for Joseph's brothers to each have their names spelled out on their shirts, helping the audience keep track of who is who.

As expected, Robert Peterpaul provides a masterful performance in the leading role of Joseph. His amazing acting and powerful voice, particularly showcased on "Close Every Door," leave the audience mesmerized at the caliber of talent he provides to the show. Beyond effectively selling every emotion, Robert Peterpaul continues to excel at going one step further and making the audience feel his character's emotions, too.

Downtown Cabaret Children's Theatre regular Andrea Pane shows that his versatile acting skills also shine on the main stage productions, as he is wonderful as Pharaoh, a character traditionally modeled after Elvis Presley, in this stage production. Andrea Pane nails the Elvis voice and mannerisms, and is so natural in this role that it almost feels as if the role was written just so Andrea Pane could perform it one day.

Everton Ricketts commands the stage with his dominant stage presence, showcased in his multiple roles, highlighted by the role of Judah, with his performance of the song, "Benjamin Calypso," a song so catchy and so well performed that it remained stuck in my head as I was leaving the theatre, after the show.

Cassie Caroll maximizes the quality of her role of Mrs. Potiphar, convincingly making every moment count, in her performance of this character that is quite different from Cassie Carroll's lead role in Goldilocks, last year, and further shows the diversity of types of characters that Cassie Carroll can excel in portraying on stage.

The entire company is great! Strong performances are given by Steven Belli, Carter Trembley, Robert Santoli, Francisco Rodriguez, Dhafir Jackson Battle, Berlin Charles, Eric Nesmith, Cory Murphy, Michael Young, and Eric Canfield as Joseph's other brothers, highlighted by the harmony they show on "Those Canaan Days," along with Everton Ricketts, and with Steve Kaplan as Jacob. Karen Hanley, Sarah Bell, Faith Fernandes, Flinley Vigliotti, and Moriah Perrett complement the cast well with skilled singing and dancing as the female ensemble. Kelly Blute, Grace Violette Stern, Olivia Stern, Chloe Levanat, Sarah Maya, Aliya Wofford, Samantha Biondi, and Chloe Payne provide moving backing vocals as an extremely talented children's ensemble. The way the company synchronizes and coordinates their movements reflects excellent directing and choreography from Andrea Pane and Cassie Carroll respectively. It also reveals strong talent, diligent cooperation, hard work, and harmonious stage chemistry among this entire cast, all of whom clearly show that they are having a great time on stage, radiating positive energy that flows throughout the audience.

The Biblical story of Joseph, son of Jacob, is told through the music, with some deviations from the Genesis account, but still conveying the positive messages of redemption and how God gives us the power to overcome even the most severe obstacles, regardless of our situations in life. The show extols virtuous obedience to God both through Joseph's willingness to forgive his brothers, and through Joseph's uncompromising rejection of the unsolicited advances of a married woman.

Some other highlights, unique to the Downtown Cabaret Theatre's performance include a singing camel, a few encores of the ending of "Stone The Crows," upon the request of Joseph, and the Megamix at the end, reprising numerous songs from the show, and featuring the full company.

I highly recommend JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT which is scheduled to continue to run at the the Downtown Cabaret Theatre in Bridgeport, CT, through December 29, 2019. For times and tickets, please go to Tickets.


Review: NEXT TO NORMAL at Ridgefield Theater Barn Photo
Review: NEXT TO NORMAL at Ridgefield Theater Barn

On Friday, June 2, I had the pleasure of seeing NEXT TO NORMAL presented in the absolute most phenomenal way possible!  The Ridgefield Theater Barn in Ridgefield, CT, has maximized the potential of this emotionally deep and powerful musical!  Directors Matt Austin and Jessica Chesbro combine their strong directing talents with their brilliant set design skills to create an immersive experience that draws the entire audience into the show!  This stellar cast of six first-rate performers brings their characters to life!  The stage presence of all six cast members and dynamics between them all yield authenticity that makes the audience feel the characters’ emotions, in this intimate setting.   The audience was truly moved by this story with book and lyrics written by Brian Yorkey, coupled with the music written by Tom Kitt, as performed by this amazing cast and live band, in this perfectly arranged venue for this show!

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to Open Summer Theatre Of New Canaan 20th Season Photo
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST to Open Summer Theatre Of New Canaan 20th Season

The Summer Theatre of New Canaan will open its 20th season with the Broadway musical spectacular Beauty And The Beast July 15th.

WORKIN FOR A LIVIN - The Huey Lewis And The News Tribute Show is Coming to Cheney Hall in  Photo
WORKIN' FOR A LIVIN' - The Huey Lewis And The News Tribute Show is Coming to Cheney Hall in July

WORKIN' FOR A LIVIN' - THE ULTIMATE HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS TRIBUTE is coming to Cheney Hall on Friday, July 14 at 7:00 PM.


MOONDANCE: THE ULTIMATE VAN MORRISON TRIBUTE is coming to Cheney Hall Saturday, July 8 at 7:00 pm. 


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