Monday, January 16, 2012

Area Stage: Snoopy!The Musical (3 reviews)

Area Stage Company opened its production of Snoopy! The Musical on January 14, 2012.
Join Charlie Brown, Peppermint Patty, and the rest of the Peanuts gang in a romp through the struggles and joys that they endure in their daily life. With a wonderful cast of the characters you know and love, Snoopy! The Musical is a fun, kind hearted show that is great for the whole family!

Snoopy is a musical comedy by Larry Grossman and Hal Hackady, with a book by Warren Lockhart, Arthur Whitelaw, and Michael Grace.
Arthur Whitelaw directed a cast that included Joshua Gobarganes, Giancarlo Rodaz, David Harrison, Marilyn Caserta, Brigid Kegel, Marc Alvarez, and Anamari Mesa.

Michelle Solomon reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
Arthur Whitelaw, who co-authored the book for Snoopy! The Musical, directs Area Stage Company’s production that features the Coral Gables-based company’s conservatory members and mixes in professional actors. It is quite a coup to have Whitelaw, whose credits in the professional theater and television span more than 50 years and who has won every major industry award.
Whitelaw can be credited with how comfortable the cast is with their roles both individually and as an ensemble in Snoopy! And it’s this ease, plus the hard work of the cast that saves the day.

Joshua Dobarganes as Snoopy is a showman, but his eager beagle should/could have a bit more muscle and a tad less sneer. While Snoopy’s character has always been overzealous and overly confident, he’s still likeable.
Standouts in the cast include Marilyn Caserta as Peppermint Patty whose natural talent shines through in her solos... and Marc Alvarez as Linus who has the audience sympathizing with his plight as his beloved blanket goes to the laundry in “The Vigil.” Giancarlo Rodaz steals the show as the hyperkinetic, yellow haired Woodstock.
While Snoopy is the stuff of comic strip legend as the coolest beagle around, Snoopy! The Musical just doesn’t live up to Joe Cool standards.
Roger Martin reviewed for Miami
Snoopy! The Musical is almost as old as Snoopy, the dog, who was first drawn by Charles Schultz in the Peanuts comic strip in 1950. Co-written by Arthur Whitelaw who also produced and directed, Snoopy! The Musical premiered in 1975. And Arthur Whitelaw is here, directing this version at Area Stage, as part of their professional team.
It may be an old show, this Snoopy! The Musical, but the cast is young. High schoolers, collegians and a couple of professionals, one equity. They're a talented group, enthusiastic and joyful, who do well by the twenty songs of Larry Grossman and Hal Hackady.
There's not a highly involved plot going on here... But for all that, Snoopy! The Musical is likeable family fare that showcases some kids who might go far in musical theatre.
Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
Area Stage Company, a pioneering Lincoln Road company admired for its strong productions of challenging plays, has lately carved out a niche in its larger Coral Gables home with ambitious musicals performed by conservatory students.

With its new production of Snoopy! The Musical, Area is easing back into professional fare, tapping some of those talented students and a couple of pros for its blended cast. The seven actors have worked with a director who knows the material as well as anyone: Arthur Whitelaw, the veteran producer, actor, writer and director who helped write the musical’s script. Whitelaw also produced and staged the original Off-Broadway production in 1982 and directed a 2004 London production.
Whitelaw’s direction is fine, David Graden’s set and costumes are cartoon colorful, and the actors are mostly up to the not-too-taxing demands of the script and songs.
The performers handle Michelle Petrucci’s choreography well, crisply tapping to When Do the Good Things Start? to end the first act. ...Patty’s Poor Sweet Baby is overflowing with faux tenderness, thanks to the impressive Caserta, who clearly has a future in musical theater.

Dobarganes, the only member of Actors’ Equity in the cast, gives a big comedic performance in the title role, as he should. Yet more than once he wanders off-key, like Snoopy breaking free of a leash.
Snoopy! The Musical plays at Area Stage through February 5, 2012.

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