BWW Review: CRY-BABY at The Noel S. Ruiz Theatre
In a Grease-meets-Romeo & Juliet type of tale, the Tony nominated musical Cry-Baby brings loads of laughs. The Long Island premiere - running through May 12th at The Noel S. Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center (CMPAC) - is superbly directed by Patrick Grossman - the Artistic Director of the Oakdale venue - and boasts an extraordinary cast. I've long admired the top notch comedic talent we have here on Long Island and the artists in this production certainly deliver sidesplitting performances.
Excellently leading the lively cast in the role of Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker (Johnny Depp's role from the 1990 John Waters' movie) is CMPAC staple Steven Cottonaro whose stage presence and charm make him perfect for the role. Cry-Baby is the leader of a group of teenage Baltimore delinquents called the Drapes and he catches the eye of Allison, adorably portrayed by Gabrielle Farah, who is currently the girlfriend of Baldwin, portrayed by Matthew Paredi, who is the leader of the Squares (or, Geeks). Corny names, I know, but we are in the 1950's here. This is where the hilarity begins.
Also a highlight among the stellar cast is an absolutely boffo performance by Jacqueline Hughes - another CM vet - who hysterically portrays Lenora, a crazy schoolmate who has a huge crush on Cry-Baby. Earning the most laughs from the energetic, nearly sold out audience, Ms. Hughes' performance is one to remember. Her physical comedy and natural wit, particularly during her performance of "Screw Loose" in act one, is first-class.
In truth, I could go on and on about the entire company as they are all truly outstanding.
Mr. Grossman also designed the beautiful set consisting of several localities. There are maybe two or three scene changes that are perhaps a little awkward from a fan's point of view, but the enjoyment shining from the players is apparent, so you don't even really notice. This is enhanced superbly by Ashley Nicastro's entertaining choreography and the spot-on costumes by Ronald Green III. And Matthew W. Surico returns to the Music Director chair masterfully heading up the fantastic live orchestra.
And so, Cry-Baby is certainly another hit for the Noel S. Ruiz Theatre. A dazzling, hilarious cast and fun music make for a thrilling night of theatre.
Cry-Baby is presented by The Noel S. Ruiz Theatre at CM Performing Arts Center of Oakdale, Long Island, through May 12th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call (631) or visit.
Book by Mark O'Donnell & Thomas Meehan, Score by David Javerbaum & Adam Schlesinger, Direction and Set Design by Patrick Grossman, Musical Direction by Matthew W. Surico, Choreography by Ashley Nicastro, Stage Management by Karen Kratchman Tese, Sound Design by Nicollette Carosi, Lighting Design by Alison Weinberger, Costume Design by Ronald Green III
Starring Steven Cottonaro, Gabrielle Farah, Anne Marie Finnie, Matthew Paredi, Jacqueline Hughes, Jess Ader-Ferretti, Marielle Greguski, Kristen Digilio, Dondi Rollins Jr., Michael C. Sherwood, Ronnie Green, Mike Shapiro, Michael Loccisano, Dana Abruzzo, Nicholas Fandaros, Christina Farah, Erich Grathwohl, Katie Johnson, Kristi Kahen, Christian Kalinowski, Zak Ketcham, Meaghan Lakios, Anthony Panarello, and Jaclyn Ruggero
Photo by Lisa Schindlar