Crazy. Tapping. Love.
High-energy dance numbers, plot twists buoy romantic musical
Alhambra’s last production, “Driving Miss Daisy,” had a three-person cast, but “Crazy for You” boasts a 19-member cast that isn’t afraid to use every bit of the stage. With a big set, elaborate costumes and company tap numbers like “I Got Rhythm,” this production is a large affair.
Alex Jorth, who was recently in Alhambra’s “White Christmas,” plays the eager and enthusiastic Bobby. Jorth exhibits his strong singing voice in the solo “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” and his tap skills in “I Can’t Be Bothered Now,” accompanied by leggy showgirls. He's at his best in duets with Erin Dowling, who plays Polly Baker, the theater owner’s daughter.
Dowling’s voice is sweet yet powerful and complements Jorth’s well in the duet “Could You Use Me?” Their intricately choreographed dance numbers are superb, such as in “Embraceable You,” in which Bobby, under the guise of another man, dodges Polly’s advances before eventually accepting a dance with her.
Though her character is powerful and full of attitude most of the time, Dowling shines on her own in solos “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “But Not For Me,” where she shows a more vulnerable side. These segments have minimal props and set pieces, but they're powerful and give the audience time to catch its breath in between the high-energy ensemble numbers.
Kevin Colvert, who's been a member of three Tony-winning shows, joins the cast as Eugene Fodor. Eugene and his wife Patricia, played by Lynn McNutt, are British travelers writing a guidebook on the American West. The two skip about the stage and lead the cast in the vigorous company tap number, “Stiff Upper Lip,” which includes in a parody of the barricade scene from “Les Miserables.”
The Act I finale, “I Got Rhythm,” features metal props, set-pieces and the clicking of tap shoes to create sounds that complement the music and make for an exciting end to the show's first half.
Alhambra Theatre often makes its own sets, but for this production, Jason Cole of Kansas City’s New Theater was brought in to help with set design and offer new perspective. The set changes quickly transport the audience from a theater's backstage to New York’s Little Italy, to a hotel bar and to the streets of Deadrock.
The costumes are representative of the time and denote the aesthetic differences of people in a big city in the East and those in a 1930s western town. The Big Apple ladies wear elegant dresses and oversized hats, the men sport spiffy suits. The Deadrock folks are clad in more rustic togs, of leather and plainer cloth.
Chef DeJuan Roy chooses menu options to match the theme of each show. For "Crazy For You," he's drawn from the setting of the opening number, Little Italy. Chicken parmesan, oven-braised beef and garlic shrimp au? gratin are featured, and there's spinach cannelloni for those wanting a meatless option. For dessert, Chef Roy offers limoncello cake or a cannoli trio.
The talented cast bubbles with energy as they sing, tap and act their way through this fun production. As the cast happily asks in the finale, “Who could ask for anything more?” o