Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rising Action Theater: The Andews Brothers (3 reviews)

The Andrews Brothers opened at Rising Action Theatre on April 3, 2009.

Dave Campbell directs (and choreographs) a cast that includes Joel S. Johnson, David Meulemans, Fermin Rojas and Alisha Todd. Musical Direction by Kevin Coughlin.

Rod Stafford Hagwood inflicts another one of his fragmentary "reviews" on the public, courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel:
The Andrews Brothers starts well enough.

The '40s-era musical at the Rising Action Theatre opens with some spirited singing by the four cast members.

But it isn't long before you realize that there is nothing new about this new musical by Roger Bean, and directed and choreographed by Dave Campbell under the musical direction of Kevin Coughlin.

And there isn't much that's funny, either.
I think someone needs to teach Rod that sentences can be aggregated into paragraphs. As for the rest of the review, let's just say that Rod liked this show about as much as I like his review of it.

Christine Dolen reviewed for the Miami Herald:
The Andrews Brothers is more 1940s musical revue with a gimmick than a fully realized musical. And that's particularly true at the Rising Action Theatre, where it's running through mid-May and reportedly pleasing both the gay and elderly segments of the company's audience.

Directed and choreographed by Dave Campbell, with musical direction by Kevin Coughlin, The Andrews Brothers delivers most solidly where it should, in the sound of its music.


The acting? There's not so much of that, not good acting anyway. Todd, who comes close to a wardrobe malfunction or two in Alberto Arroyo's costumes, is the best on the thespian front, displaying moxie, decent dance moves and pretending that there's a spark between Peggy and Patrick. There isn't.

The men move well, but it's unlikely that Bean's show (which premiered at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, a large regional theater, in 2005) is meant to imply that these guys really like dressing up as gals, which seems to be the case at Rising Action. Rojas has a particularly unfortunate problem in that he sweats massively, not just spotting his shirts but drenching every costume he puts on. That's difficult for him, but it makes his ''romantic'' scenes with Todd positively cringe-worthy.

J.W. Arnold reviewed for the South Florida Blade:
...while there is no gratuitous male nudity in The Andrews Brothers, Goldyn and director Dave Campbell do serve up the next best thing for gay audiences: boys in drag.

...in the first act... the cast struggles with the choreography, and the musical and dance sequences also lack the kind of smooth transitions between dialogue and musical numbers that work in the movies. Perhaps it is more a weakness of the play than this staging.

Everything changes as soon as the boys don wigs and pumps—and even tap shoes—for the Andrews Sisters numbers. What was awkward in the first act finally becomes comedic...

Todd is perfectly cast in her standout role as the backup singer, approaching the role as a contemporary Dorothy Lamour. Her Peggy is smart and sassy and manipulates the stagehands expertly with her feminine wiles.

Vocally it is challenging for all the cast, but they shine most in the close harmonies, only impeded by some mixing issues in the booth that will be worked out through the run.
The Andrews Brothers plays at Rising Action Theatre through May 17, 2009


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