Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern
The original production of Baby, featuring music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., and a book by Sybille Pearson, opened on Broadway on December 4, 1983 at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, where it ran for 241 performances. Baby won two Drama Desk Awards, one Theatre World Award, and received seven Tony Award nominations.
In addition to writing the lyrics for Baby, Richard Maltby, Jr. also wrote the lyrics for Broadway's Song and Dance, Big, Miss Saigon, Nick & Nora and Pirate Queen, and was the creator of Ain't Misbehavin'. Composer David Shire collaborated with Maltby on Baby, Big and Closer Than Ever and is also the composer of such songs as "It Goes Like It Goes," written for the 1979 film Norma Rae, and TV-movie scores for Raid on Entebbe and Do You Remember Love?.
The plot of Baby focuses on three couples and the different ways in which they deal with the news that they are expecting a child. The first couple, Lizzy and Danny, are juniors in college who have just moved in together. The unplanned pregnancy is welcomed by the unmarried young couple even as it changes their relationship. The second couple, Pam and Nick, is married and in their thirties. They have had trouble conceiving, and their efforts to get pregnant pose a challenge to their relationship. The third couple, Arlene and Alan, already have three grown daughters. The 48-year-old Alan is thrilled at the prospect of another child, though, at 43, Arlene considers not having it. The three couples' lives cross because of their college affiliations and the women's shared physicians. Their stories are all filled with the understandable hopes and fears that accompany any couple's journey to parenthood.
This Broward Stage Door production is done with a good deal of heart. The smaller space provides some intimacy for a small cast show. This is also not a dance show, so it doesn't require that much space. The sets are more suggestive than exact as they serve the needs of three different couples. The show is done with tracks rather than a live orchestra. A side effect of working with tracks is that, on the night attended, the computer froze about 10 minutes into the show, and it had to be restarted from the top. Surprisingly, this truly had little effect on the flow of the evening, and was quickly forgotten.
Mara Jill Herman as Lizzie has a lovely, clear voice. She and Dean Maroulakos as Danny are believable as the energetic and hopeful couple. Don Stansfield and Alison Bacewicz maneuver their way through some difficult scenes with the great humor intended for the characters of Nick and Pam. They are a couple believably bound by a love that will get them through the storm ahead. Elissa D. Solomon as Arlene struggles more than anyone else in the cast with her singing, but really acts the role wonderfully. Arlene is the character whose pregnancy probably poses the most internal conflict. Her husband Alan is played with warmth by Matthew William Chizever. The ensemble fills in the gaps as students, doctors, real estate agents, etc., with strong vocals nicely sung. An especially funny cameo as the obstetrician is turned in by Josh Meznick.
Baby appeared at the Broward Stage Door Theatre February 15, 2008 - March 30, 2008. The theater is located at 8036 W. Sample Rd in Coral Springs, Florida. The Stage Door Theatre is a not-for-profit professional theatre company hiring local and non-local nonunion actors and actresses. Their two stages in Coral Springs as well as their 26th Street Theatre location in Ft. Lauderdale are open year round. For tickets and information on their season, you may contact them by phone at 954-344-7765 or online at www.stagedoortheatre.com.
*Indicates member of The Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Inc., an independent labor union.