A recently-released show (2021), JUST DESSERTS A Musical Bake-Off is a sweet little heart-felt musical mixed with a little mystery, romance, and comedy.

In a parody of baking show competitions, five strangers battle it out to reign as Jefferson County’s prize baker.  With reputations on the line, some will do almost anything to win.  The winner gets their own TV cooking show on the community television station.

There are a lot of musical numbers in this show, and the creative team of Ron Shreve, Erin Barnes and Theresa Pazanowski has stacked the cast with powerhouse vocalists.  Characters tell their back stories through song, with other contestants doubling as friends and family members in those vignettes.

The MC for the competition is meteorologist Zack, who opens the show introducing the contestants.  Blake Michael Osner is a lot of fun as an over-the-top weather man from TV.

Prim and proper Mildred, played by powerhouse Amy Allen Farmer, is the reigning champion, having won the bake-off three years in a row.  Her stern mother raised her that the only way to her husband is through his stomach.

Reminiscent of Dolly Parton in pink, Brandy (Aly Blakewell) is a Southern pageant contestant-turned-hussy who gets engaged for the third time during the show.  She actually hates baking and used to be terrible at it, making us wonder why she’s really there.

Emma (Rachel Johns) currently works as an accountant, but dreams of opening up her own bakery.  She is determined to beat Mildred, although the two ladies have similar ethics and values.

The shy Jean (Hayley Smith) loves baking for the joy of others.

The most enigmatic entrant, baking while dressed like he’s going to a poker game, is Lou, played by the talented Matt Barnes.  He’s supposed to be from a large Italian family in the Bronx, and all of the other contestants thinks he’s a mobster hiding out at the competition.

The cast baked up a storm, with props that looked good enough to eat.  For a light-hearted evening escape, JUST DESSERTS is a nice way to wrap up dinner.

JUST DESSERTS is at Theatre Jacksonville, 2032 San Marco Boulevard, November 3-19, 2023.  For reservations, go to theatrejax.com or call (904) 396-4425.

By Cessy Newmon

About Cessy Newmon