Review Roundup: Corey Cott in the New Musical LAST DAYS OF SUMMER in Kansas City
Kansas City Repertory Theatre's first show of its 2018/2019 season is the World Premiere musical, LAST DAYS OF SUMMER, now on stage through September 30, 2018.
LAST DAYS is based on the book by author Steve Kluger, who also wrote the book and lyrics for this production. LAST DAYS OF SUMMER features music by Grammy winner Jason Howland, is directed and choreographed by Tony nominee Jeff Calhoun (Broadway's NEWSIES, KCRep's BETWEEN THE LINES), and is produced by special arrangement with Daryl Roth (Broadway's KINKY BOOTS and INDECENT, KCRep's BETWEEN THE LINES).
Starring in LAST DAYS OF SUMMER are Corey Cott (Broadway's BANDSTAND) as third baseman Charlie Banks, Emily Padgett (Broadway's SIDE SHOW) as Hazel MacKay, Robbie Alan Berson as Joey Margolis, Jim Kaplan as Craig Nakamura, and Chris Dwan as Stuke. Rounding out the cast of 15 are: Lauren Braton, Joseph Carr, Gary Neal Johnson, Katie Karel, Mike Ott, Josephine Pellow, Ben Priestland, Tim Scott, Emily Shackelford, and John-Michael Zuerlein.
The creative team for LAST DAYS OF SUMMER includes Set Design by Jason Sherwood, Costume Design by Loren Shaw, Lighting Design by Jen Schriever, Sound Design by Ken Travis, and Wig Design by Alison Hanks. Rick Hip-Flores will serve as Music Director and Paul McGill as Associate Director/Choreographer. Mary Honour is the Stage Manager.
Set in early 1940s Brooklyn, soon-to-be Bar Mitzvah boy, Joey Margolis and best friend, Craig Nakamura, write letters to their hero, New York Giants Charlie Banks, with the hope that Charlie will help them impress and suppress the neighborhood bullies.
An unlikely friendship is formed between the two boys and Charlie, and as they are there for each other through everything life throws at them and while the turbulent events at the dawn of World War II unfold, bonds are formed that will last forever. This new musical is a poignant and hilarious tale of baseball, the struggle to fit in, and the true gift of friendship.
Tickets may be purchased at http://kcrep.org/lastdays by calling 816-235-2700. For group ticket sales, please call Andrew at 816-235-6122.
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Robert W. Butler, Kansas City Star: Howland's score is itself a character. The songs exude '40s authenticity, ranging in style from Hazel's tango-y torch number "Where Did All the Heroes Go?" to fast-talking patter numbers for Joey ("Dear Mister Charlie Banks") to the heartbreaking "You Never Have to Say Goodbye."
ALan Portner, BroadwayWorld: It is hard to fault a show that is so heartfelt, well-acted, and delightfully scored. Corey Cott, Chris Dwan, Robbie Berson, and Jim Kaplan are all excellent. Jim Kaplan and Robbie Berson are sensitive beyond their years. I could not help flashing on Dwan as Charley the dance instructor from "Funny Girl." Corey Cott is the classic leading man especially perhaps as Joe Hardy in "Damn Yankees." If there ever was a Broadway Baby, she is certainly Emily Padgett. Emily's voice is crystal-clear and powerful with the ability to squeeze the most from every note.
Marie Warner, PerformInk: The problem areas in LAST DAYS OF SUMMER stem from its book. The relationship between Joey and Charlie is the focus of the plot, yet in the second act, we take a significant break to address Craig being sent to an internment camp. The internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII is a shameful episode in American history which deserves to be explored in works of art; however, the attempt at shoe-horning that storyline into this particular play isn't successful.