Monday, September 12, 2011

Stage Door Theatre: Song Man Dance Man (2 reviews)

Stage Door Theatre opened Jon Peterson's Song Man, Dance Man, on September 10, 2011.  It has been playing at both its Coral Springs and Miami Beach locations - check website for details.
In this tribute to Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Bobby Darin, George M. Cohan, Sammy Davis Jr., Anthony Newley, and Donald O'Connor, Jon Peterson performs the numbers that made them famous!
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami Artzine:
It's a simple show, this Song Man, Dance Man, just Peterson singing and tapping on a pretty much bare stage, but with Donald Chan's excellent piano accompaniment, this tribute to some of the great singers and dancers of the past is tremendous fun.
There's no doubt that Peterson is an excellent dancer and singer; his “Singin' In The Rain,” “Splish Splash,” “Candy Man,” “Mack The Knife” and “Be A Clown” are standouts in a song and dance list of 27 exceedingly well done pieces.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Though the era of the song-and-dance man has faded into history, Peterson belongs in the company of those multifaceted entertainers, including the seven he honors in his solo show.
Peterson becomes a tour guide for a song-and-dance journey down memory lane, paying tribute to George M. Cohan, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, Sammy Davis Jr., Anthony Newley and Bobby Darin (yes, Darin sounds like the answer to a game of “which of these is not like the others,” but Peterson makes the choice work).
Though Peterson is the only singer-dancer-actor onstage, he’s not quite alone. He has the great fortune of having Donald Chan — a composer, conductor, musical director and accomplished pianist who has served as musical director for more performances of West Side Story than any other conductor — as his accompanist. Chan’s evocative, just-right contribution enhances each of the numbers, which range from the effervescent pop of Darin’s Splish Splash and Davis’ signature Candy Man (which was actually written by Newley and Leslie Bricusse) to the hauntingly rueful What Kind of Fool Am I? (a true Newley/Bricusse gem).
...Peterson plays various characters as well as the stars he’s celebrating, though vocally he never sounds like any of them. Between numbers, he offers stories and anecdotes about the men he’s evoking, though his storytelling is meandering with a few bad segues and sudden shifts.

But as a song-and-dance man, he delivers. He does a joyous Kelly, splashing through imaginary puddles as he croons Singin’ in the Rain, a cool Darin singing Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Mack the Knife. He’s good with ballads, novelty songs and show tunes, and even better as a
dazzling dancer. Born too late? Maybe. But the title of Peterson’s show is an apt description of who he is as an entertainer.
Stage Door Theatre presents Song Man, Dance Man, through September 24, 2011, at both its Coral Springs and Miami Beach locations - check website for details.

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