Saturday, July 21, 2007
Gotta Have Heart
Just back from the Friday night, second week performance of Damn Yankees.
Well done, full of surprises, glad I was there. What a night in the theatre!!!
I mean, overall, the performances were energetic, engaging and fun. I was particularly impressed with Lisa Christopher, Beth Olson and Mary Willard. I knew Lisa had talent, but she really sold me on this nice middle aged Washingtonian transplant. Her first solo, "Six months out of every year," was a great piece of work. Thanks, Lisa, for the song.
Beth and Mary, as the two older biddies who provide a kind of chorus to the Faustian epic, were just wonderfully comic. The obligato on the Gotta Have Heart reprise was just fun as well a funny. It's not that I didn't think these two women could pull off these parts - just that I was delighted by what they did with their small roles.
The major players in the show, well, what can you say but marvelous. Absolutely marvelous.
I have to single out Tyler Johnson's performance, however. Tyler is an old hand at Broadway RFD and at musicals in general. In his senior year at Bethany he played the role of El Gaio in The Fantastics, a role with many similarities to Mr. Applegate (dark, mysterious, controlling). They're not the same role, but these seem to be roles that come easy to Tyler - the dark, mysterious man. He played Applegate like it was the role he was born to play. "Those were the good old days" was worth the price of admission.
Of course, you can't have everything you want in the theatre. It just doesn't happen. Even the highest budget productions have a few things lacking.
This production is no exception. The cast members, particularly the younger ones, sometimes had pitch difficulties. The lack of a follow spot was a problem, since the lighting plot at Swensson bandshell depends on the follow-spot for full illumination. There were two or three par cans that needed new bulbs.
I suspect that there was some difficulty getting all of the volunteers Cody needed, and thus we were short on follow spot operators. I know that we don't provide feedback monitors for the stage, and I suspect that it is difficult to hear the orchestra on stage. We need to get in the habit of doing light checks early enough to replace bulbs. In other words, all stuff that can be corrected, and nothing that seriously detracted from an enjoyable evening of theatre.
In the beginning of the process I posted a video interview of Cody. He said then that he hoped he would have a theatre piece the community could enjoy. He accomplished his goal.