Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stage Door; The All Night Strut! (reviews)

Broward Stage Door opened its production of The All Night Strut! on March 23, 2012.
Yes, Swing's the Thing! And nowhere more than in this classy, sassy musical celebration of the 1930's and 1940's. This is a show filled with jazz, blues, be-bop and classic song standards that thrill the heart, tickle the funny bone, and raise the rafters. Written by such legendary songwriters as Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Cab Calloway and the Gershwins.
Dave Campbell directed and choreographed a cast that featured Danielle Famble, Christopher George Patterson, Rose Kathryn Ouellette, and Matthew Varelia.

Christine Dolen reviewed for The Miami Herald:
True, those Strut! theatergoers are getting up there. But plenty of them attend the Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs, which has just opened its new production of the show. Judging from their applause and cheers, director-choreographer Dave Campbell and his singing-dancing quartet are delivering just their cup of nostalgia.
Selling Strut! requires performers whose voices blend beautifully. They also need to shine on solos and handle dance styles ranging from swing to tap to Latin. The Stage Door cast fills all those bills, strutting and singing confidently alongside a three-piece onstage band led by musical director David Nagy.
Rose Kathryn Ouellette is the fun-loving soprano, a beaming blond who radiates joy. Danielle Famble is the alto, a sometimes-sultry gal who also has spirit, particularly as she leads the “choir” on the song Operator. Tenor Matthew Varelia delivers a lovely As Time Goes By. And first among equals is baritone Christopher George Patterson, who contributed to the choreography, dances like a dream and alters his persona to suit the song...
Certainly, The All-Night Strut! isn’t for everyone. It’s tuneful and nostalgic, and if you’re in the mood for some musical time-traveling, by all means check out the Stage Door’s sassy Strut!.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
If you think time machines are only found in science fiction, visit All Night Strut at Broward Stage Door and watch an audience of Greatest Generation grads be transported back 65 years to the marrow of their youth.
...Christopher George Patterson’s mournful rendition of “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime” brings out the pathos inherent in a Depression Era song that often is tossed away. Similarly, Rose Kathryn Ouellette’s “White Cliffs of Dover” becomes a wish for the restoration of a world that she knows will never return. Danielle Famble comes close to breaking hearts with “I’ll Be Seeing You” and Matthew Varelia does exactly that on “As Time Goes By.”
Director Dave Campbell has given them fluid choreography as well. The four swing, swivel, sway and shimmy through both acts. While all of them move well, Patterson... is an audience favorite with his percussive tap dancing.
The singers benefit from a live trio consisting of Musical Director David Nagy on keyboards, Julie Jacobs on drums and Rupert Ziawinski on stand-up bass with some scatting thrown in. A highlight is when all seven performers jam on “In the Mood” that reminds you what an infectious blast the song can be.
The songbook benefits hugely from the champagne arrangements by Tom Fitt, Gil Lieb and Dick Schermesser who keep enough of the original concept that the tunes will spark memories among the audience members, but also re-imagine them so that they feel unusually fresh.
The All Night Strut plays at Broward Stage Door through April 29, 2012.

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