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Showing posts with label Chester Gregory II. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chester Gregory II. Show all posts

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sister Act

If you're in the mood for a night of good, clean, innocent fun - Sister Act at the Broadway Theatre has just what you've been looking for.  By the way, don't run out and rent the movie.  Cheri and Bill Steinkellner along with Douglas Carter Beane have adapted the original TouchTone motion picture quite a bit for the stage.

So - what's the result?  Fun, frivolity, glitz, glamour along with dancing, singing, high-kicking, sequin wearing nuns!  How could you go wrong?!  The stained glass sets on the cavernous stage are magnificently grand (kudos Klara Zieglerova) and the colorful and sharp lighting is equally sublime (kudos Natash Katz).

In the staring role, Patina Miller (Deloris Van Cartier) and Victoria Clark (Mother Superior) never fail to delight.  Ms. Miller gives it all she's got and Ms. Clark never fails to entertain with her quick wit and sublime vocals.   Surrounding these two fine actors is an equally fine cast of nuns, gangsters, and police officers.   The two nuns you'd most likely recognize are Sister Mary Patrick (Sara Bolt) and Sister Mary Robert (Marla Mindelle) - literally channeling the identical side-kick characters in the film, Kathy Najimy and Wendy Makkena.

Filling in the supporting roles, Fred Applegate does a magnificent deadpan with Monsignor O'Hara and Audrie Neenan takes on the aging Sister Mary Lazarus with chutzpa.  Relative newcomer, Chester Gregory (Eddie Souther) has a few surprises up his sleeves (and pant legs), oozes that awkward, charming sensitivity, and and never fails to delight - especially when those surprises are revealed.

This show lives up to its bold expectations.  You'll leave the theatre with a big, old-fashioned smile on your face.  After seeing nuns in glitzy habits singing and dancing all night long - the only thing that could top it is the star coming out at the end in the fabulous dress she always wanted.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cry Baby

James Synder - you ROCK. Well, more importantly - the entire cast ROCKS! Cry Baby, the latest new musical to arrive on the scene at New York's Marriott Marquis Theater threatens to rock the town to the bedrock. Cry Baby is a musical (Book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan, Songs by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger) based on the film of the same name which was written and directed by John Waters. Needless to say, there are some boundaries to be pushed.

First and foremost - the entire cast simply rocks the house from the opening number to the final ultimo. No stage is better equipped to fly in and out the dazzling sets to support all the toe tappin' numbers. Dancing, dancing, and more dancing. That ensemble couldn't have kicked higher and tapped harder. Speaking of hard... those dancing boys had rock hard kick ass bods literally dripping with sweat and oozing sex. Someone bring me a glass of cold water! Wow-za!

I think the critics will say - it's a musical without it's own identity. It doesn't seem to have any memorable numbers - even though each of the numbers is a toe-tapping Broadway delight. It's sort of a mix between Grease and Oklahoma; between Hairspray and Spring Awakening; between The Music Man and Jersey Boys - - I think you get the idea. It's classically structured - two romantic leads, two comedic leads with a chorus of talented actors. The story itself is a contrast between the "good kids" and the "bad kids". So hence you get both worlds colliding on stage - A barber shop quartet followed by a James Brown-esque rock number followed by a West Side Story dance number. This one has it all. Time will only tell if it has the staying power to keep all those things alive under it's own unique brand.

All this typing and I have not gotten to one of the best parts - Harriet Harris! She's a delight as Mrs. Vernon-Wiliams and the proof of her love from the audience is her complete butchering of a musical number which still gets raucous applause! She's a comedic genius - ala Lucille Ball or Ethel Mertz!

Onto the young ones (most everyone else is!). Christopher Hanke makes the cute preppy boy, Baldwin, come alive - almost walking on air in those Sperry's. James Synder as Cry Baby, commands the stage in his Broadway debut. I'd love a pair of those painted on Jeans. Fierce! Dupree, a "what James Brown might have been like as a kid" character is played brilliantly by Chester Gregory II. Those shrill ooooh's and aaaahh's get you hootin' and hollerin' every time. Now there are too many ensemble names to mantion here, but this review would not be complete without a mention of the absolutely drop dead gorgeous, uber-talented dancing "bad boy" dancers - Marty Lawson, Charlie Sutton, and Spencer Liff!


Torrents of music - Lynne Shankel took command of the Orchestra from the pit right from the start. Plenty of toe-tapping, bob your head and clap your hands numbers, clever comedy, and no shortage of eye candy will keep the crowds entertained for a while. Swing on by and get your fill!