BWW Review: DISASTER! THE MUSICAL at Summit Theatre Group
It is perhaps just a little too appropriate that the Summit Theatre Group's production of "Disaster! The Musical" was put off by a week due to the extreme weather conditions that have kept the midwest (and, it seems, pretty much the rest of the country) on the defensive through one of the harshest winters in recent memory. Call it the weather gods' little joke. In any case, it did make its debut at the MCC-Longview Cultural Arts Center on Thursday night to an enthusiastic opening-night audience.
"Disaster!" is a musical comedy pastiche of sorts, taking its main cues from the Irwen Allen movies of the seventies, most particularly 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure". It cleaves quite closely to the formula: an ensemble of archetypes in an enclosed space attempt to escape a disastrous situation while each navigating their own personal and interpersonal dramas. Interspersed throughout are snatches of pop tunes from the sixties and seventies, generally introduced through some convenient quirk of dialogue. These are not always the most seamless segues, but even the clunkier ones may be forgiven.
Like its inspirations, the story suffers somewhat from an overcrowded cast. A few named characters seem to be along solely to die, and there are a couple of others that the script sometimes seems to forget about for long stretches at a time. There were occasional technical issues: mike glitches, sound cues, etc, and occasionally one of the cast wouldn't be singing quite in sync with the tune being played, but overall the night was a successful one. Particular note should be made of Jonah Beard's singing, Tracy Pratt's turn as the wayward nun, and most particularly Julianna Allen's dual role as the twins, Ben and Lisa.
The production runs through March 10th.