The musical numbers are all original songs such as, “Don’t Fool Around on Your Broker,” “Shop Till You Drop,” “A Good Handyman Is Hard to Find,” and “It Isn’t Easy Being a Bitch.”
The limited run is four performances – today (Monday, August 1) and Monday, August 15 at 3 & 8pm. at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham. Tickets are $25 and are available by calling 518-392-9292 or go to www.machaydntheatre.org.
Kira (Leanne Smith) tells Sonny Malone (Patton Chandler) as he talks about his dream to have all the arts come together in a roller disco.
In Chatham, the Mac-Haydn Theatre’s 2015 season ends just before summer does, with music, action, excitement and fun together in a rocking, roller-skating romp as a Greek muse gets mixed up in a modern mortal’s dreams in the stage musical “Xanadu.” Based on the cult classic film starring Gene Kelly and Olivia Newton John, the show opens at Mac-Haydn tonight (Friday, September 11) and runs through Sunday, September 20.
“We’re excited about this show,” Mac-Haydn insiders tell us, “Because it is bringing roller skating back to our building, which was the area’s roller rink at one point in its history. In fact, one of our Board of Directors members told us that his parents met while roller skating here.”
Adolpho (Gabe Belyeu) gets set to seduce the bride in “The Drowsy Chaperone” at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham, June 4-14. He’s actually seducing the Chaperone (Monica M. Wemitt). Jamie Grayson also stars as The Man In The Chair. (photo: Mac-Haydn Staff)
With a merry mix of 1920’s musical comedy plot twists, lots of quirky characters and some great songs, The Drowsy Chaperone is at the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham through June 14. You’ll be wide-awake with laughter through this “musical within a comedy,” which stars Jamie Grayson, returning to MHT to play the Man In The Chair, a lonely soul seeking to cure his ‘non-specific sadness’ by listening to his treasured recording of his mother’s favorite 1928 Broadway musical comedy.
The Man provides a running commentary on the events of the show as it unfolds in his mind and his apartment. This soon reveals that “Drowsy” means “Tipsy” as the Chaperone, played by Monica M. Wemitt, indulges her thirsty desires and then must nap to recover. If you enjoy Ms. Wemitt’s characters, just imagine her ‘tipsy’ and singing “As We Stumble Along” – need we say more?
The tipsy-turvy plot is a challenge even with explanations. The Chaperone is in charge of keeping the bride and groom-to-be apart until the wedding, but instead falls under the spell of a gigolo sent to stop the nuptials – who thinks he’s seducing the bride. Meanwhile the happy couple share a kiss – but the blind-folded groom thinks he’s kissing someone else. Then there are gangsters disguised as pastry chefs, a Follies producer who wants to keep the bride in his show and a ditzy hopeful star. Plus, a wealthy hostess who’s hoping for wedding bells of her own, a best man being overly efficient except for one little detail, and a heroine who swoops in to save the day and the wedding(s) – not to mention tap dancing, roller skating and roaring ’20s-style songs like “Toledo Surprise, Fancy Dress, Cold Feets” to make this show a binge of fun and laughs that also proves “Love Is Always Lovely in the End”.
Strutting onto the Mac-Haydn Theatre stage in nearby Chatham, September 5-14 are Phil Sloves, Sarah Talbot, La’Nette Wallace and Don Seldon.
Labor Day doesn’t mean the end of the fun at the Mac-Haydn Theatre. No sir. In fact, this energetic theater invites you to strut back in time to the music of the 1930’s and 1940’s in The All Night Strut, playing a special schedule September 5-14. The All Night Strut is a classy and sassy musical bonanza that has all the special sounds from the depression and lowdown Harlem jive to WWII and stage door canteens to the sophistication of both uptown and downtown night club elegance. You’ll tap your toes and go home humming as jazz, blues, bop and classics bring back the romance, dance and delight of this inimitable musical era.
Starting with the full-throttle welcome of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” and ending with the excitement of “Lullaby of Broadway,” the over two dozen songs in between range from the plaintive depression anthem “Brother Can You Spare A Dime” to happier times of getting “In the Mood” and the syncopations of “Fascinating Rhythm.” There are reflections on the emotions of war with “G.I. Jive,” “White Cliffs of Dover” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” You’ll also hear “Ain’t Misbehaving,” “Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar,” “A Fine Romance,” “Tuxedo Junction,” “Jukebox Saturday Night,” “As Time Goes By” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing” plus many more as the show goes swinging and strutting along.
Carl Ritchie’s original musical The REAL Desperate Housewives of Columbia County will prove that “Country Life’s a B**ch” on three Monday nights beginning tonight (July 7), followed by July 14 & 28. The tongue-in-cheek take off on the “Real Housewives” shows, described in a Backstage review as “a fun, fizzy, fast cocktail” with “wit, sparkle and pizazz,” tells it like it is about locals, weekenders, divorce, marriage, parties – all the things that make country life a desperate delight!
Billy Bigelow (John Grieco) and Julie Jordan (Alison Drew) meet aboard the carousel where he is the barker.
In 1999 Time Magazine voted Carousel the Best Musical of the 20th Century. While I disagree and give top honors to Cabaret, I could easily go for a tie between Carousel and The Threepenny Opera for Best Score Written for the Musical Theatre in the 20th Century. No matter how many times you have seen this 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein opus, the sheer scope and beauty of the music will always take your breath away.
This is the second time in a decade that director John Saunders and choreographer Kelly L. Shook have teamed up to stage Carousel at the Mac-Haydn (the last time was in 2005) and since then I have seen and reviewed two other productions of the show at very different theatres – in 2008 at the Cohoes Music Hall and in 2009 at Barrington Stage. And I have yet to find a production that really embraces and tells the story of Julie Jordan and Billy Bigelow, largely because of what producers, directors, and audiences today think Carousel is all about is not what Carousel is all about.
Rodgers and Hammerstein have become synonymous with happy, sunny musical comedy – and Hammerstein’s lyrics are relentlessly optimistic – but the source material they selected for their work was often dark and troubling. That was not a problem when this show opened in 145 because Ferenc Molnár’s 1909 tragedy Lilliom, on which it is based had been wildly popular in its English stage translation for nearly a quarter of a century beforehand. Rodgers and Hammerstein shifted the setting to coastal Maine and thus avoided some of the anti-Semitic aspects of the original Hungarian locale, and they gave Billy a sliver of hope at the very end (in the original his failure to aid Louise sends him straight to Hell), but otherwise the story is largely unaltered. Carousel remains a tragedy about a headstrong woman and a stupid, angry man who impulsively get together despite every indication that they, their relationship, and eventually their daughter, are doomed.
I am soooo happy that the Mac-Haydn has had the guts to do “dirty” Grease! I thought for sure this theatre, known for offering family-friendly fare, would go with the Lysol-sanitized squeaky-clean version that The Theater Barn did in 2008, which frankly makes me want to hurl. Not because I am a huge fan of the non-stop raunchiness of Grease! as it was originally performed on Broadway in 1972, but because I think you should either do a show as written or not do it at all. Grease! is a dirty show and if you want to do a clean show you shouldn’t do Grease!
Of course, what I call “dirty” Grease! is apparently considerably cleaner than its original incarnation in Chicago, which was revived this past spring. Since I found the endless dry-humping of the Broadway version exhausting when I first saw it as a hormonally charged teenager, I have a feeling I would not like Chicago Grease! although I would be fascinated to hear the songs penned by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs which were cut.
Whatever I may think of the show on stage, I adore the score and was also very happy that this Mac-Haydn production presented all of it* except the original Act II finale, All Choked Up, which was replaced by the film score closer You’re the One That I Want. It also included Sandy, Baby as an opener, which I hadn’t seen done before, and Hopelessly Devoted to You. I am NOT a big fan of these later additions from the film, but I confess that I do understand the sense of adding a solo ballad for Sandy and find that Hopelessly Devoted… at least has an authentic 1950’s sound to it.
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