Jul 18

Bye, Bye, Birdie: Fully Loaded Fun

 

photo credit: Reagle Players

Bye, Bye, Birdie, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, book by Michael Stewart, Reagle Music Theatre, Waltham High School Robinson Theatre, 7/13/12-7/22/12, http://www.reagleplayers.com/current.html#Birdieinfo.

Reviewed by John Herring

(Waltham, MA) I’ve always enjoyed seeing shows at Waltham High School’s Robinson Theatre. The audience space is ample, clean and comfortable, the orchestra pit plenty big enough for a mid-size ensemble, the technical facility is as good as or better than many professional theatres, and the acoustics are good. Which brings me to the sound quality of the orchestra. Winds and strings went together as tightly as I recall ever hearing a show orchestra play, with volume to fully envelop the listeners. So much so that I worried about the actors having to belt when they should soften, or being overpowered altogether. But worries were unfounded. Music Director Dan Rodriguez and Conductor Jeff Leonard made sure that the orchestra did what any good show orchestra should do – support and enhance the action. Continue reading

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May 27

Connecting with the Cheerfully Cheesy “Xanadu”

McCaela Donovan and Ryan Overberg, Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Xanadu, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, Speakeasy Stage Company, Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 5/11/12-6/9/12, http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=xanadu.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

Xanadu, the 1980 film featuring Olivia Newton John and music by the Electric Light Orchestra, is well known for being a critical flop.  The chief crime of this cinematic musical, however, is in creating entertainment that doesn’t connect with its audience.  After all, it’s a movie about disco released a year after the genre died a largely un-mourned death.  I’m hard pressed to find a better image of disconnection than that.

In being brought to the stage, Xanadu has finally found its correct medium.  The show not only finds its audience but winks at it furiously throughout the course of the story. Continue reading

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