Photo by Don Kellogg

Friday, December 28, 2012


Roma, once again, was right!  Rob McClure is the shining centerpiece of this charming and delightful new bio-musical by Christopher Curtis & Thomas Meehan.  Chaplin is an audacious look at the entire life of Charlie Chaplin, a.k.a. the Tramp, from his birth in the London streets to his meteoric rise to fame in America in silent pictures, to his controversial political ideas during the Red scare in the '50s all the way up to his triumphant return to America in 1972  - filled with the untold tales of his many private sorrows and joys in addition to the many public achievements and scandals we already knew.

The entire score is lush, playful, and engaging.  But what captured my eye and earned my praise from the first moment to the last was the degree to which Beowulf Boritt's ingenious sets, Amy Clark and Martin Paklediaz's pastiche of vintage costumes, and Ken Billington's brilliant lighting design completely and thoroughly captured the monochromatic emotion and feel that the entire black and white era evokes in our memories.

Rob McClure, already crowned the break-out triple-threat star of the season, most assuredly captured Chaplin with great care and aplomb in a fairly demanding role both physically and vocally.  His swan song 'Where are All the People?'  is undoubtedly the icing on the proverbial cake of the show to which Mr. McClure decisively and deservingly earned that rare event, a standing ovation, mid-show.   Stand-out cast members include Jenn Collela playing the well dressed, down-and-dirty Hollywood gossip columnist and radio show host, Hedda Hopper including a fine interpretation of the lyrical lilt to her unique voice and Wayne Alan Wilcox, playing Charlie's rock-solid and steadfast brother Sydney Chaplin.

The show has already announced a national and international tour starting in 2014 despite posting an early closing on Broadway January 6, 2013 - largely due to some mixed reviews compounded by the inability to overcome a box office slump during Hurricane Sandy.

If you can, RUN, DON'T WALK to catch this one before it quietly takes off on it's world tour.