Monday, April 4, 2011

Maltz Jupiter Theatre: Crazy For You (2 reviews)

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre opened its revival of Crazy For You on March 29, 2011, fifteen years after the show made its extremely successful post-Broadway debut on the same stage.
Crazy for You is a high-energy musical comedy packed with mistaken identity, plot twists and fabulous dance numbers that will keep you grinning from ear to ear. Overflowing with hit Gershwin songs, including I've Got Rhythm, They Can't Take That Away From Me and Shall We Dance, this Broadway sensation crosses good, old-fashioned entertainment with a feel-good message about being true to your dreams. Who could ask for anything more?
Mike Martino directed a cast that included Matt Loehr, Vanessa Sonon, Anna McNeely, Trisha Rapier, and Michael Briar Dunn. Shea Sullivan handled the choreography.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for South Florida Theater Review:
How infectious is the unrestrained joy spilling over the footlights at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre during Crazy For You? After the curtain calls Thursday, with the band still slamming out I’ve Got Rhythm, the house lights exposed two dozen people audibly singing along and twitching with spasmodic dance moves.
The cast was so clearly having the time of their lives crooning and hoofing that it was nearly impossible not be swept up by their exhilaration.
What everyone was talking about as they left humming were the remarkable performances of Matt Loehr and Vanessa Sonon as the tap-dancing bickering lovers-to-be. New York producers ought to fly down just to catch their work.

To see Loehr throw his head back in rapturous pleasure as he leaps into the air or to hear Sonon caress the heart-breaking But Not For Me is to savor the visual and aural definitions of unassailably entertaining first-class musical comedy.
Directed here to a high polish by Mark Martino (who helmed La Cage aux Folles at the Maltz), the production is blessed with first-rate musical leadership by Helen Gregory.
...Shea Sullivan delivers some of her most thrilling work – from tapping on table tops to swirling in tandem – seen in South Florida in years, and there’s been some damn strong choreography the last couple of seasons.
Each member of the cast is impressive, especially Anna McNeely as the hero’s battleaxe dowager of a mother, Trisha Rapier as his snooty New York girlfriend and Michael Brian Dunn as the impresario Zangler.
On the production side, there’s deft work with Donald Edmund Thomas’ lighting and Keith Kohrs’ sound... Jose M. Rivera ... demonstrated a pitch-perfect sense for selecting tone, colors and designs for this fairy tale...  Dan Kuchar’s sets – inspired by the original production – are a marvel.
Hap Erstein reviewed for The Palm Beach Post:
The north county company has become increasingly proficient with large-scale musicals, as director Mark Martino (La Cage aux Folles) again proves with Crazy for You. His work is rich with attention to detail and character specifics, but the production’s unquestionable success really relies on two other people – endlessly inventive choreographer Shea Sullivan and charismatic, comic leading man, Matt Loehr.

The two combine to captivate us from the opening production number, I Can’t Be Bothered Now, where Loehr as high-finance scion and song-and-dance man wannabe Bobby Child conjures up a quintet of fantasy chorus cuties and cavorts about with abandon.

Sullivan keeps coming up with energetic, and occasionally flat-out elegant, dances, turning Shall We Dance, I Got Rhythm and Nice Work If You Can Get It into showstoppers.
The 17-member cast is all tap-proficient and tireless. Sonon mostly plays straight man to Loehr, but she can belt a ballad with the best of them and has a couple of standout a cappella tap routines.

Also worth singling out is Michael Brian Dunn as producer Bella Zangler, whose cleverly timed and well-executed mirror image duet with Loehr (What Causes That?) is symptomatic of the production’s precision.
A familiar Maltz design team is in great form, notably Jose M. Rivera with his dusty Deadrock duds and impossibly pink chorine costumes, as well as Dan Kuchar’s amusing slide-in, drop-down, fold-out scenery.
Crazy for You plays at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre through April 17, 2011. And since history is apparently repeating itself, expect this one to sell out quickly - get your tickets now!

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