BWW Review: Rousing Vocals & Hilarity Rule UMPO HOME ALONE
Kate Pazakis and her talented creative team once again incorporate their 'secret sauce' in concocting a most delicious holiday treat for Rockwell revelers - THE UNAUTHORIZED MUSICAL PARODY OF HOME ALONE. The 1990 John Hughes classic Home Alone receives Pazakis' UMPO treatment, resulting in a most side-splitting production with their clever choice of pop songs, re-worded to 'fit' the Home Alone narrative, and boosted by the always witty (and subtly topical) dialogue of Ray Wetmore and Pazakis. Marty Thomas nimbly directs and wonderfully stages this two-act, non-stop laughfest with just enough time for the howling and applauding audience to twist their heads front from watching all the surround-sound action in all the nooks and crannies of the Rockwell Table & Stage.
For those not familiar with the movie plot of Home Alone, the McCallister family manages to leave their eight-year-old Kevin McCallister home alone in the chaos of running late to catch their trans-Atlantic flight. With the last words the night before between Kevin and his mom Kate being, shall we say, less than affectionate; the feelings of all involved become decidedly mixed - for maximum hysterical effect for the audience.
Natalie Lander rules the Rockwell Stage and the McCallister home as the feisty little Kevin McCallister. Lander's stellar vocal pipes effortlessly exhibit Kevin's joyous relief of being left on his own in the Tiffany/Heart medley of "I Think We're Alone Now/Alone" and Kelly Clarkson's "Miss (now Mr.) Independent."
Gina D'Acciaro steals every scene she's in with her precise comic timing and her soaring vocals as Kevin's loving, yet very guilty mom Kate, especially in the first act closer Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" and the second act opener The Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling." D'Accciaro simply nails all Kate's numbers!
Damon Gravina's sturdy as Kevin's father Pete McCallister, but really gets to grab the stage as Old Man Marley in his duet with Lander's Kevin in Whitney Houston's (featuring Mariah Carey) "When You Believe."
The bluesy velvet tones of Jason Ryan Bornstein so smoothly soothe, singing "Please Come Home For Christmas" as the John Candy character Gus
Nohely Quiroz and Sarah Wolter delightfully pratfall and mug as the bumbling thieves Harry and Marv.
Ryan O'Connor and Amanda Kruger provide ample comic antics and vocal support in their various roles (among his: grocery clerk, airline check-in attendant, among hers: a bed-wetting McCallister sibling, a stewardess with attitude).
An incredible set piece of a showdown boxing ring match of Kevin vs. Harry and Marv simply wows! Gravina's comic chops as the ring master really shine as he narrates the fight, with all singing Christina Aguilera's "Fighter," Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," and DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win." Pow! Pow! Pow! The songs and dialogue in this sequence! What a total knockout by all!
If you're going to be home alone during the holidays, better to be at HOME ALONE at the Rockwell. Nothing lonely about laughing in a roomful of happy, entertaining and entertained people!