Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Stage Door: Bubbling Brown Sugar (3 reviews)

Broward Stage Door opened its production of Bubbling Brown Sugar on October 16, 2009.
Nominated for 6 Tony Awards, it includes Take the A Train, Sophisticated Ladies, and It Don’t Mean a Thing. It’s an evening of ebullient entertainment that celebrates some of the best music written by Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, and other great Harlem Composers in the time of the Speakeasy.
Dan Kelley directs a cast that includes Nadeen Holloway, Rendell Debose, Walter Kemp, Chris Patterson, Liz McFarlane, John Ramsey, Roslyn Seale, Allison Semmes, and Jerial Young. Choreography by Chrissi Ardito, musical direction by Mark Goodman.

John LaRiviere reviewed for
Both the choreography and dancing in this production are outstanding! The cast shows great versatility by performing different styles of tap as well as the stylized dancing of the time period danced with all the right athleticism and flavor. Highlights are the group numbers "Stompin' at the Savoy"/Take the A Train," "Strolling" and "It Don't Mean a Thing." The ensemble dancing is tirelessly tight and visually engaging throughout the show.
The strongest performance of the evening is a well-written arrangement of "I Got It Bad" sung for all it is worth by Allison Semmes. Nadeen Holloway as Irene and Chris Patterson as John Sage turn in a nicely sung version of "Honeysuckle Rose" and carry the bulk of what little there is of the show's storyline. John Ramsey provides some wonderful comedic moments as the rich, white Charlie, whisking his way through Harlem's nightlife. The dark texture of Jim DeBose's voice is compelling in "Sophisticated Lady"...
...this production of Bubbling Brown Sugar is a truly enjoyable and entertaining show filled with great music and talented performances.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for the Sun Sentinel:
The incandescence named Allison Semmes is currently electrifying Broward Stage Door Theatre's resurrection of the Harlem Renaissance jukebox musical Bubbling Brown Sugar.
Bubbling is yet another strong offering from Stage Door, which has revived its reputation for reliable productions of musicals requiring large casts. This year, it mounted impressive iterations of La Cage Aux Folles and A Little Night Music that frankly surprised many theater veterans.
...when this cast sings and dances -- which is most of the evening -- the show is pure hallelujah time. That's thanks in large part to Dan Kelley's staging, Chrissi Ardito's choreography and Mark Goodman's musical direction to David Cohen's pre-recorded score. The three leads are especially winning, but almost everyone gets a moment to shine.
Ron Levitt reviewed for ENV Magazine:
Dee Bunn / David Torres and their staff at Broward Stage Door have done themselves proud with a fun musical...
The cast is good – some, exceptionally good – but it is Director Dan Kelley, Musical Director Mark Goodman and Choreographer Chrissi Ardito who deserve the biggest bows... Their handiwork makes this cast light up the stage.
Allison Semmes performs a Duke Ellington torch song so convincingly that the audience rousingly cheered her efforts; Nadeen Holloway, a Carbonell nominee, is a show-stopper with her The’ll Be Some Changes Made; and Roslyn Seale’s God Bless the Child showed a range of notes oblivious to the recorded music’s normal zone.
Broward Stage Door regular Marcus Allen continues to show off his amazing talent in song and dance.
Bubbling Brown Sugar runs through November 22 at the Broward Stage Door Theatre.

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