Monday, August 8, 2011

Stage Door; SUDS the Rockin' 60's Musical (3 reviews)

Stage Door Theatre opened their production of SUDS- the Rockin' 60's Musical at the Byron Carlyle Theatre on July 29, 2011.  The show marks their first production in the North Miami Beach theater.
SUDS is a bubbly 60's musical about romance in a Wash-O-Rama. From Chapel of Love to Don’t Make Me Over, SUDS is the show critics have raved about. "Joyous songs that will take you back to the first kiss, the last dance and making out under the boardwalk". The story of three girls trying to find love in a laundromat, SUDS bubbles over with fluffy fun!
Dan Kelley directed a cast that included Colleen Gallagher, Amanda Kuchinski, Katie Riggs, and Justin Michael Lore.  Musical direction by Dave Nagy.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:’s a frothy celebration of ‘60s songs hung on the silliest, flimsiest of plot lines. The creation of Melinda Gilb, Steve Gunderson and Bryan Scott, Suds is an over-eager crowd pleaser for older Baby Boomers and pop culture trivia buffs tickled by the mention of the Corvair, Gilligan’s Island and Sandra Dee. But for younger or more discriminating theatergoers (yes, it is perfectly legitimate to want even a goofy revue to make a little bit of sense), Suds is as thin and ephemeral as the soap bubbles that briefly cascade onto its laundromat setting.
Dan Kelley... seems to have told his four-person cast that there’s no such thing as overacting...
...Gunderson’s arrangements showcase the women, who sound best blending as a trio, though Kuchinski rocks out appealingly on Respect, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me and other scattered solos.
Chris Joseph actually managed a review, but it's posted in The Cultist blog instead of the normal slot for reviews in The Miami New Times:
Suds is a jukebox with a pulse. It's nostalgia bubble gum of a play. If wall-to-wall hits from the 50s and 60s being belted out with nary a break in moving the story along is your thing, then Suds is the play for you!
Gallagher wins you over as the sweet and amiable Cindy, with her dimples and her aw shucks personality. She conveys Cindy's naivet√© with charm and affability. And she can belt out a tune.  
Kuchinski as the smart-ass veteran angel is the perfect foil to Riggs' novice guardian angel that means well but harms Cindy more than helps. Like their co-star, Kuchinski and Riggs have voices made for a stage bigger than the Byron Carlyle. Justin Michael Lore, who was in Stage Door,s original Broward production, turns the ham up to eleven, reprising several roles that range from a washing machine repairman, to an angel, to the handsome man. The cast's talent is enhanced thanks to a live-band accompaniment led by musical director Dave Nagy.  
This is the first time we've read a proper review from Chris since he's been writing for The New Times; I suspect that since this is in the blog stream instead of the print stream, it's a pretty good bet that an editor has been responsible for most of the atrocities they've printed since Brandon K. Thorp left.
Marguerite Gil reviewed* wrote for Miami Artzine:
The three women have amazing voices, blending and harmonizing beautifully. They complement and entice each other into powerhouse singing interpretations, which are exciting and engaging. Then, we meet Justin Lore, who in the program guide is presented as (Everyone Else). He is not only everyone else but he is perfect in every way... The musicians are on target and make the ‘60’s tunes undeniably outstanding. Throw in fantastic hits such as “Please Mr. Postman,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “It’s My Party,” “Secret Agent Man,” “Dedicated to the One I Love,” “I Know A Place” and “Shout” plus dozens of other top-ten popular numbers or that era and you’ve got a sing-along-presentation that (frankly) we weren’t expecting. Everything about this production is clever, cohesive and truly… astonishing good!
*I had to downgrade it, because it starts as "the story of going to see the play" instead of a proper review.  It also fails, for the most part, to sort out what the performers brought to their roles, as opposed to what the roles are in the show.

The Stage Door Theatre production of SUDS- the Rockin' 60's Musical plays at The Byron Carlyle Theater through September 4, 2011.


  1. Thanks for the shout out. Sincerely.

    A couple o'things:

    This is my first review under the 'Stage Dude' voice, which is more freestyle and first-person prose. We agreed to start doing it this way a few weeks ago to play to my strengths (ie being a smart ass gonzo influenced writer). The straight-laced reviews style wasn't working for me, my editors AND CERTAIN UNNAMED THEATRE BLOGGERS, which might explain your earlier frustrations with my writing.

    This is also why it went into the blog rather than the newsprint, as we wanted to experiment with it a little before turning it loose on the masses.

    My aim is Hunter S. Thompson Does Stage, so my reviews will more or less look like this from now on, except I won't be high on ether (maybe a little drunk, but that's it).

    Again... thanks. Sorry we got off to a rough start. But I kinda like having you as my arch enemy. Like my personal Lex Luthor!

  2. Beware - I loathe "gonzo critique." See Marguerite Gil's review, and you'll see why this can go badly awry. Hunter S. Thompson is a shitty example to follow for any kind of reviewer.

    By and large, people who go to theatre - whatever their age - don't need or even enjoy "the story of seeing the play." It's masturbatory. It gets in the way of the review; we want to know about the PLAY, not the reviewer.

    But as long as you separate the production from the script, you are meeting the criteria for a good review. And that's what you did here.

    The thing to keep in mind is that EVERYONE works from the same script; in a couple of years, you'll be reviewing someone else's production of it.

    It's important to note that while a particular character is compelling written, not every actor will play it the same way, and not all of them will work. We need to know which it is, in every single case.

    And pass this on to your editor; I know that they often think that the character and the actor are interchangable in a review, and they are absolutely not. In fact, your editor should write out one hundred times, just to make sure they remember it.

    BTW, I'm not Lex Luthor, and you're not Superman. I am to you what you are to the theater community; judge, jury... and, you know...

  3. Girls, Girls! You're both pretty

  4. Bringing the conversation back to Stage Door, I'm very sorry but I must question: What the HELL does Dan Kelley have on Dee Wilson Bunn that he is allowed to continuously deliver one slop-filled cheesy festival of poor choices in casting and artistry (or lack-there-of) after the next? And Chris, are you going to post this or hide it like Christine's review on Suds. You know, the BAD one. Dan have something on you as well?

  5. "Anonymous," unlike you I have a full-time job, and many other things going on. Christine's review came out TODAY. I haven't had time read it, let alone parse it.

    As long as the show sells, the formula works, as far as producers are concerned. If his shows didn't sell tickets, they wouldn't let him direct.

    Is anybody letting YOU direct, anonymous?

  6. These posts would kind of hurt my feelings if I did not know who they were coming from...but I know who is posting them so it kind of makes me laugh...kind of. I really think people who make such cutting, rude, offensive remarks and than hide behind "anonymous" are nothing but cowards. It is easy to call someone names when you are hiding behind a mask.

  7. Anonymous, I've deleted your last two posts. They added nothing of value to the conversation. And in fact, from this point forward I will be deleting ANY post signed "Anonymous."
    If you feel you have a case, there is no reason not to sign your name to your comments - unless, of course, you are either embarrassed to have people know that you made them, or are planning to work for The Stage Door in the future.