BWW Review: Throwing Back to LIFE COULD BE A DREAM at Winter Park Playhouse
LIFE COULD BE A DREAM and is a dream at Winter Park Playhouse's latest revue. The music from this era is iconic, upbeat, and harkens back to a simpler time when dreams were made over the radio. The musical numbers are all instantly recognizable and make for a toe tapping enjoyable performance.
This was a time where music stars could be made from unknown people. A time before HD video or autotune. LIFE COULD BE A DREAM revolved around four guys with very different personalities, who want to become the next big doo-wop group. Their local radio station is holding a talent contest to find the next radio sensation and of course they enter. The show's relatively simple plot revolves around the preparation for that competition.
The cast meshes well together, with each man playing into their archetypical role. Together their harmonies are a dream. There is Denny, played by Bert Rodriguez, who lives in his mom's basement and does not have a job, so he really needs this break. Rodriguez is well fit for his character. He has a good voice and a great sense of his character.
Rounding out the group is comic relief Eugene, played by Michael Scott Ross, and good-looking Wally, played by Zach Nadolski. Ross is a huge crowd pleaser, his goofy antics had the audience rolling in their seats. Three of the guys have been friends since high school and though sometimes their interactions lack chemistry, the group sounds great.
Although Denny is the de facto leader, he decides to take a step to the back row when Skip joins the group. Skip played by Andrew LeJeune is the lead voice that ties the group nicely together. LeJeune is a crooner, who if he was born a little later would surely have been a 1960s star. There is a cute subplot between Skip and a young lady named Lois Franklin, played by Tay Anderson. As Lois, Tay Anderson is a sweet young lady who is just the right amount of playful. Her costumes were adorably vintage and she seemingly had a new dress for every scene. I was envious. Again, there's a lack of chemistry between Skip and Lois, but their voices are fantastic. Anderson and LeJeune's duet of "Unchained Melody" is delightful and one of many song highlights in the production.
The set is Denny's mom's basement, which may seem simplistic, but is a huge contrast to the past few sets at Winter Park Playhouse. I walked in and thought, "Wow where did this come from?" I also appreciate the use of the second tier, which really sold in the basement feel.
There were so many great songs that not only moved the story along, but really made the two hour show feel very quick. Those four-part harmonies are not to be missed. LIFE COULD BE A DREAM runs at the Winter Park Playhouse now through October 8th. For tickets and more information visit winterparkplayhouse.org.
Photo credit: Winter Park Playhouse