BWW Review: An Enchanted Evening at Desert Threatreworks
A fun-filled evening of song, filled with favorites by Rodgers and Hammerstein, awaits those who attend Desert Theatreworks' cabaret-style concert, SOME ENCHANTED EVENING.
Karen Schmitt directed the production with flair, resulting in engaging performances by five musical theatre and opera veterans: Mark Almy (in the interest of disclosure, he was one of my voice instructors at College of the Desert last semester); Lisa Diaz (who also has an opera background); and Ryan Holmes, Stephanie Jauregui, and Haley Rose Whitehead. The program primarily consists of Rodgers and Hammerstein medleys, ingeniously assembled and often reinterpreted. For example, the two men sing "It's a Puzzlement," the king's soliloquy from THE KING AND I, as a duet, and, Ms. Diaz and Ms. Whitehead perform THE SOUND OF MUSIC's "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" as an older woman advising a teen about boyfriends. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote for traditional, classically trained singers, but belting is common today. Ms. Jauregui's fresh, belted interpretation of "Cockeyed Optimist," from SOUTH PACIFIC works perfectly. Mr. Almy has played over 125 roles in opera and theatre. His renditions of "This Nearly was Mine" (SOUTH PACIFIC) and Jud Fry's terrifying "Lonely Room" (OKLAHOMA) gave me goosebumps. I also very much enjoyed the dance numbers, including a cleverly staged "Shall we Dance" (THE KING AND I) and "Kansas City" (OKLAHOMA).
Those who have read my reviews of musicals are aware that I prefer live music to tracks. This show uses live music from two pianos, by two expert pianists (musical director Douglas Wilson and Kurt Kelley). Not only was the accompaniment enjoyable, but the musicians performed a terrific dueling pianos number that the audience loved.
In addition to the performances, the staging, background projections, and costumes (the last by Michelle Mendoza) deserve kudos; the colorful costumes in the finale are a feast for the eyes.
The only problem with SOME ENCHANTED EVENING is that it is sold out, even after adding a performance. However, there is a wait list. Anyone fortunate enough to have tickets or to rise to the top of the list is in for a treat.
The rest of the technical crew consists of Christine Michele (assistant director), Phil Murphy (lighting design), Miguel Arballo (sound supervisor), Tessa Walker (stage manager), Maddox Martinez (light operator), Billy Franco (sound operator), Violet Feath (assistant stage manager), and Trevin Ortega (sound assistant).
SOME ENCHANTED EVENING will run through February 17, 2019. Evening shows are at 7:30. Matinees are Sundays at 2:00 p.m. All performances take place at the Indio Performing Arts Center, 45175 Fargo Street, Indio, CA 92201. Desert Theatreworks' individual ticket prices are $30.00 (general admission-musicals), $28.00 (general admission-plays), $20.00 (ages 13-18), and $16.00 (ages 12 and under).
Check the ticket purchase information for specific schedules. For tickets and further information, go to the Web site at www.dtworks.org or call (760)980-1455.
The rest of the 2018-19 season consists of:
Music by Marc Shaiman, Lyrics by Scott Wittman/Marc Shaiman, Book by Thomas Meehan/Mark O'Donnell Music.
March 8-24, 2019
Set in 1960s Baltimore, this Tony-award winning smash musical tells the story of lovable plus-sized teen Tracy Turnblad, a misfit who becomes a local celebrity by dancing on TV's Corny Collins Show, and whose passion for justice transforms her into an unlikely heroine, triumphing over snotty teen queens and racial segregation. And she does it all without denting her 'do. RATED PG-13
LOVE, SEX, AND THE IRS
By Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore
Back by audience demand! A comedy of mistaken identities and hilariously tangled subplots, LOVE, SEX, AND THE IRS centers on Jon and Leslie, two heterosexual roommates. In an attempt to save money, Jon has filed income tax returns for years listing the pair as married - but men cannot yet legally marry other men. When the IRS comes to investigate, Leslie must pretend to be Jon's wife. Meanwhile, Jon's mother comes to meet her son's fiancée, and the landlord objects to the idea of an unwed couple living in the apartment. LOVE, SEX, AND THE IRS is a guaranteed laugh-fest! RATED PG-13
REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES (Newly added to the schedule)
By Josefina Lopez
A comedy about five full-figured Latina women working in a sewing factory in East Los Angeles, who must deliver an impossible order in one week to save their business. A celebration of real women with real bodies working together. RATED PG-13
Photo Credit: PAUL HAYASHI