Review Roundup: San Diego Musical Theatre's PUMP UP THE VOLUME
Oh, snap! The 90's are back! San Diego Musical Theatre (SDMT) announced today the complete cast and creative team for the World Premiere of Pump Up the Volume: A 90's Palooza! From the creators of the long-running hit Mixtape, Colleen Kollar Smith and Jon Lorenz, comes a new musical that journeys back to the 1990's. Kollar Smith helms the show as Director and Choreographer, with Lorenz working as Music Director and Arranger. Performances run July 28 - September 10, 2017, at the Horton Grand Theatre. Press opening is Saturday, August 5 at 8:00 p.m.
Seven strangers escape from the grind of two-thousand-now into the 1990s and relive the pimpin' pop culture, phat fads and stylin' fashion of the eclectic decade that's all that and a bag of chips. Join them as they grunge, swing, vogue, rave, do the Carlton and rediscover their voice in a world longing to connect on the precipice of a new millennium. Pump Up the Volume! It's so money!
The creative team is comprised of Colleen Kollar Smith (Director/Choreographer), Jon Lorenz (Music Director/Arranger), Michael McKeon (Set Design), ChrisTina Martin (Lighting Design), Kevin Anthenhill (Sound Design), Janet Pitcher (Costume Design), Peter Herman (Hair & Wig Design), Bret Young (Production Manager), Craig Campbell (Company Manager), and Matthew Bantock (Stage Manager).
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Times of San Diego (Pat Launer): The boy bands of the era were all the rage: Boyz II Men, New Edition, and those infamous lip-synchers, Milli Vanilli. Some bands went on to spawn solo superstars; Justin Timberlake started in *NSYNC, Beyoncé began as part of Destiny's Child, and No Doubt spawned Gwen Stefani. Other lasting stars of the time: Britney Spears, Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera who, like Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and Ryan Gosling, got their start in the Mickey Mouse Club.
Stage and Cinema (Milo Shapiro): This delightful escapism, subtitled "A 90's Palooza," takes us back before cell phone interruptions and movie downloads. While delivered with fun energy, the show is sometimes geared for the under-forty crowd, who will no doubt reminisce about certain video games and pop icons, but some references went over the head of this fifty-something. And since this was an era when the family still gathered to watch TV, this revue treats us to song/dance numbers based on TV themes; while some may remember youth-oriented shows such as Duck Tales and Animaniacs, or the theme from Family Matters ("As Days Go By"), others may not experience the pang of recollection. Still, television tributes to In Living Color and classic SNL bits (like "Coffee Talk with Linda Richman" and Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri's overly-committed Spartan Cheerleaders) take us back with a smile.
San Diego Tribune (Roxana Popescu): The show begins in the present, with a bunch of young people doing what young people do the present: tweeting and Instragramming and not talking face to face even though they're in the same room, of course. But - what's this? - did their smartphones just stop working? Did they somehow magically get slurped back into the '90s? Why yes, it seems they did! Suddenly, the words coming out of their months include "Dunkaroos" and "pogs." "Why am I craving JoNathan Taylor Thomas?" one of the singers says, sounding panicked and fascinated at once.