Review: CRAZY FOR YOU at Ogunquit Playhouse

Stepping Up In Maine - A Tap Dancing Gershwin Extravaganza

By: Jun. 22, 2024
Review: CRAZY FOR YOU at Ogunquit Playhouse
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Review: CRAZY FOR YOU at Ogunquit Playhouse

“Crazy for You,” currently performing at the Ogunquit Playhouse, offers the irresistible rhythm of tap dancing with eye-popping ensemble numbers, charming duets, and dazzling solos. Add in an intricately detailed set, rich-sounding orchestrations, stage-belting vocals, and highly talented actors and you have the makings of a summertime hit.

With music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin and a book by Ken Ludwig (Ogunquit Playhouse has previously performed his “Moon Over Buffalo,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” and “An American in Paris”) is a natural as an audience favorite.

Based on the Gershwin’s musical “Girl Crazy” from 1930, this 1992 update took the bones of the original and updated the story with Ludwig’s genius for storytelling and comedy. You’ve seen the plot many times before, but it still sparkles in this production.  Boy meets girl and falls in love. Boy and girl are going to put on a show to save a theater. Boy and girl fall out of love. Nobody shows up for the show at the theater. Former lovers and some comic characters (portrayed by Ogunquit icon, Sally Struthers) muddy the waters. Everyone lives happily ever after.

Leading the charge is Max Clayton as Bobby Child, the hapless New York banker sent to foreclose on a rundown Nevada theater. Clayton embodies Bobby's wide-eyed innocence and growing determination with charm and a smooth singing voice. His number, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” is a memorable hit. His chemistry with Taylor Aronson as Polly Baker, the spunky daughter determined to save her family's theater is perfect. Their duet, “Embraceable You” is melodic perfection.

Aronson possesses a captivating stage presence, her fiery spirit perfectly complementing Clayton's Bobby. Her renditions of “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “But Not for Me” are stunning. Her “I Got Rhythm” is vibrant. (How does she make tap dancing in heels look so easy to do?)

Supporting roles are impressive with Angie Schworer bringing a touch of sass and glamour to Irene Roth, the captivating nightclub singer, and Bobby Child’s former fiancée, who falls in love with Nevada hotel owner, Lank (Peter Kendall). The number “Naughty Baby” is a hit performed by the duo and a male quartet.

Tony Roach provides a scene-stealing performance as the hilariously bumbling impresario  Bela Zangler, especially during his inebriated encounter with Bobby who has disguised himself as the producer to win Polly Baker’s heart.

Sally Struthers plays the formidable role of Bobby's mother and the eccentric Patricia Fodor, (of the Fodor travel guide people) with her husband, Eugene (Jim Borstelmann). Struthers is at her usual comic best, and doubly so with Borstelmann’s comic delivery at her side.

Other standouts include Jack Doyle as Everett the mild-mannered theater owner and Polly’s father, Matthew Carter as Moose, a seemingly untalented oaf who is revealed as an accomplished bass player and  Alexandria Van Paris as Tess, a spirited showgirl.

The entire ensemble shines in the showstopping dance numbers, their synchronized tap routines executed with precision and infectious energy. It is a lively stage full of talent.

Director Angelique Ilo keeps the pace brisk and the humor sharp. The choreography, originally conceived by Susan Stroman and recreated by Ilo, is a marvel of intricate footwork and playful formations.

The set design by Adam Koch evokes the dusty charm of Deadrock, Nevada, with the intricate details of a lavish old-time theater while the costumes, originally designed by William Ivey Long and supplemented by Emerald City Theatrical Costumes, are a feast for the eyes, capturing the flamboyant style of the era.

The music direction by Ken Clifton, is robust capturing every nuance of Gershwin tunes. With no orchestra pit in sight, it is becoming commonplace to only hear the orchestra playing from some unknown location. (You do see a glimpse of them on video during curtain call from that undisclosed location.)

A special mention goes to the Ogunquit Playhouse itself. The intimate theater provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere, drawing the audience into the heart of the action. The theater staff are exceptional whether the ushers, concession staff, or parking coordinators.

"Crazy for You" is a show overflowing with infectious energy, heartwarming romance, and the timeless music of George and Ira Gershwin. Whether you're a longtime Gershwin fan or simply looking for a night of pure entertainment, "Crazy for You" will leave you wanting something more... like a return visit to the Ogunquit Playhouse.

Watch for their other upcoming productions of "A Little Night Music," "Little Shop of Horrors," and the world premiere of "My Best Friend's Wedding -The Musical."



Comments

frankiejr0513 on 6/27/2024
Can't wait to see this on the 5th!



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