BWW Review: Find Your Groove with SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER at Beef & Boards
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER summons mental images in an instant. Bell-bottoms, elongated lapels, disco balls, big hair, crazy colors, intense patterns, everything shiny imaginable. What's not to love? That is the visual feast being served up by Beef & Boards, and what a feast it is.
When I think of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, I see John Travolta in his iconic disco outfit with his disco finger at the ready and hear the refrain of "Stayin' Alive." It is such a memorable image, even if you are not familiar with the film itself. These images are renewed and brought to life by the cast at Beef & Boards. The flurry of costumes and catchy tunes will surely make you tap a toe, snap a finger, or bob your head. This fever is contagious!
This performance for me was all about the disco divas. I was drawn to the performance of Megan Flynn as Candy, the resident singer for the 2001 Odyssey dance club. She filled the room with her intensity and vocal presence. She used such skill to navigate the narrow line between well-sung and well-stylized. She was able to keep the melody true but also add some flair so that it sounded like a classic disco track. She lit the floor on fire with her "Disco Inferno."
Another pair of ladies who delivered some excellent performances were Amanda Tong as Stephanie Mangano and Kyra Leeds as Annette. They both belted out some beautiful ballads that let the audience enjoy the softer side of disco.
Jeff Stockberger deserves some credit for the sheer joy he brought to the stage as Pete, the dance studio owner. His unique dance moves and combinations produced wave upon wave of raucous laughter. His part may have been small, but its impact was big because of the fun it brought to the production.
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER was an era-defining picture, seizing the spirit of the disco club scene. The film takes the entertainment of disco dancing and puts it against the tough life growing up in Brooklyn, combining hits from The Bee Gees to the story of a Tony Manero, the ruler of the '2001' club.
While the show and movie are loosely based on a New York Magazine article written by a visiting Englishman, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER actually is an odd, resolute, and sexual film with the movie more in common with "Midnight Cowboy" than similar movies like "Flashdance," "Grease," or "Mamma Mia!" The majority of the screen time was spent on the unhappy lives of the working class, mostly Italian-American than on any outer-borough dance floor, even though John Travolta made the show's dance moves famous.
The choreography of all the dance routines was excellent and showed great polish. This adaptation by Beef & Boards was full of energy and effect; the smooth disco moves were given an added flourish by choreographer Ron Morgan, who always shows the precision of classic moves and ease of the slower numbers. Jeremy Sartin portrayed the lead role powerfully in spite of John Travolta being an tremendously difficult act to follow. He brought all the swagger and brashness to his performance and you felt that the cast had also raised their game to the next level. We also felt like the atmosphere of the set was dazzlingly recreated by Michael Layton and the effects of the music truly blew your socks off. You really felt like you were part of the scene.
Take a twirl on the dance floor with the cast of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER and get your tickets now through March 29th! Don't forget, you can buy online.