BWW Review: Like An Old Vinyl Record, Or A Jukebox; There Is Something For Everyone With SHOUT:THE MOD MUSICAL at Straz Center For The Performing Arts
Whether you grew up in the 1960s, an adult in the 1960s, or a child of any decade after; you have probably heard most of the music that was popular in yesteryear. Whether you grew up listening to the songs in the car, on the radio, or raced home to catch your favorite TV personality singing on TV, the songs probably bring up fond memories. Every once in a while a musical comes along that makes you "Forget all your troubles...." and take a break from reality. The five incredible women making up the company of Shout: the MOD Musical on stage at the Straz Center Jaeb Theatre have done just that. They have taken songs from yesteryear and brought them into our atmosphere in a groovy and relevant way, and the cast did so with gusto, grace, and poise. Director Alison Burns put together a tight knight cast and a toe-tapping band, that had the audiences dancing in their seats shortly after the first number. The big thing on Broadway currently is the "Jukebox Musical" with musicals such as Ain't Too Proud: Life and Times of the Temptations", TINA: The Tina Turner Musical, and the upcoming MJ: The Musical chronicling the life and greatest hits of Michael Jackson. With this and more being a huge hit on Broadway and Tours across the globe, it gave the STRAZ an opportunity to tap into the market and bring the "Jukebox Musical" Bayside and allow us to experience all that reminiscing has to offer.
There is not a weak link in the entire cast, and may I say these women can sing with the best of them. From powerhouse vocals to smooth choreography every moment worked and had the audience grooving from start to finish. The set design by Rebekah Eugenia Lazaridis was beautiful and kept us in the realm of the 1960s with brightly colored walls, doors, and fuzzy furniture. Imagine if Austin Powers and James Bond had a love child that tripped and fell into a production of Hair and you would have Shout!
Each girl coordinated in colors; corresponded to what doors they would enter the stage. Blue Girl played by Kelli Hall was wonderfully funny and endearing. As the Yellow Girl, Standout Heather Krueger could blow the roof off the Jaeb. Her rendition of "Son of a Preacher Man," was like hearing the original but better, smoother, more inviting, and I could listen to her sing just about anything. Chelsea Hooker commanded the stage as the Orange Girl and her sultry voice and lower register made hearts swoon. Her all-powerful woman stance on injustice was a great moment in which women asserted the power! When she told off the voice-over everyone in the audience cheered. Jessica Moraton was wonderful as the Green Girl. Her voice and stage presence were exceptional every time she hit the stage. Her sensual character was a wonderful juxtaposition to the other characters and made for some hilarious moments. Julia Rifino as the Red Girl was wonderful and her voice lent well to the production. All of these women not a weak link in the entire company brought something unique and special every time they were on stage. Standout moments of the night were "Son of a Preacher Man", the vinyl- boot-clad "Boots are Made for Walking" and the "Coldfinger" number reminiscent of Goldfinger. The company and creative team should be proud of the exceptional work they brought to the stage, and the joy they brought to each audience member was unforgettable.
If you're looking to step out for a weekend or looking for something fun, and different; then SHOUT: The MOD Musical is the ticket. From toe-tapping numbers to beautiful costumes and sets, SHOUT will have you singing and dancing in your seats for 90 minutes straight. A welcomed light-hearted evening with still enough time to grab cocktails at the local bar following the show. So, "Forget all your troubles... forget all your cares..." and head Downtown to the Straz Center from now until March 22 to catch SHOUT: The MOD Musical. The Straz Center knocked it out of the park with this in-house produced production! I as well as many others look forward to catching more of these incredible performances. You can find more information about The Straz Center and Shout! by visiting the strazcenter.org. Tickets to this 60's romp will not be around for long so stop "Wishing and Hoping..." for something to do and go check out SHOUT: The MOD Musical, you don't want to miss some of the best musical talents Tampa Bay has to offer!
Photo Credit: The Straz Center