On the Town
The Roxy Regional Theatre, Clarksville, TN, September 18, 2014
Reviewed by EJaz Dorsey for Cabaret Scenes
Having spent the first half of 2014 working on David Rush’s one man play about Leonard Bernstein, I was excited to learn that The Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville had Bernstein’s first musical, ON THE TOWN, as the opening show for their 2014-2015 season.
And what a wonderful production it is!
First and foremost, I have to say that, if you took away the dialogue and songs, ON THE TOWN would still stand on it’s own as a ballet, and Jessica Davidson’s stunning choreography is certainly the wind in the sails of this production. Which would of course mean nothing if not for the extraordinarily talented cast and their flawless execution of the choreography. (In fact, the impetus for this whole show started out as an idea for a ballet by Jerome Robbins.)
And get this – the cast is not miked, so they are singing this show “old school” and doing it very well.
Speaking of “old school,” this is an old school musical. The whimsical and somewhat preposterous story is about three sailors on 24 hour shore leave in New York City. Their objective – romance! And NYC is remarkably accommodating on that front.
The three sailors are Gabey, Chip and Ozzie and the adventure starts when Gabey falls for a poster girl – Miss Turnstiles of the month – whose picture he espies on the subway.
Although Chip and Ozzie have romantic ambitions of their own, they agree to defer their quests until Miss Turnstiles – – aka Ivy Smith – is located. Expeditiously, on their expeditions, both boys find girls of their own, while it is Gabey himself who finds Ivy, when he tracks her down at Carneigie Hall, where she is studying voice with the ditsy Madame Dilly, who is alcoholically inclined and just a touch mercenary, thus providing the conflict which keeps Gabey and Ivy apart.
Meanwhile, Chip hooks up with a taxi driver named Hildy Esterhazy and Ozzie lands himself a female anthropologist named Claire de Loone, who has a fiance named Judge Pitkin J. Bridgework who, as it turns out to everyone’s best interest in the end, is a very understanding man.
Michael Spaziani, Ryan Bowie and Cameron Perry are Gabey, Chip and Ozzie – and a charming trio of lads they are. Equally charming are Emily Rourke, Stacy Turner and Allie McCaw as Ivy, Hildy and Claire. And did I mention that these kids can DANCE?
Kim Kinsley is a hoot as Madame Dilly. So is Corrine Bupp as Hildy’s neurotic roommate Lucy Schmeeler.
And Keith Patrick McCoy almost steals the show as Judge Bridgework.
The ensemble is strong and talented. Some standout performances come from Mallory Mundy and Chase Miller as performer and emcee in the second act nightclub montage, and high school senior Julio Iguina-Pascual dances the dream ballet to perfection.
The set is swell, the costumes are perfect and Adam Kurtz’s lighting design shows everyone and every thing off to a t.
Director Tom Thayer, who also plays the piano with the band, has done a flawless job here.
Speaking of the band, they play the show from the balcony and it’s very interesting to have the music come down from above you.
Theatre students – see this show!
The Roxy Regional Theatre is set in a charming section of Clarkville and there’s a great restaurant, Edward’s Steakhouse, just across the street – there’s a dinner and the theatre special on Saturdays – making this the perfect excuse for a little road trip!
Come to Clarksville and Go to the Theatre!